It is time for Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce to step up and launch a Section 232 investigation into Saudi Arabia and Russia dumping crude oil on the world market while also selling their crude below market value. This action was undertaken during the current Coronavirus Pandemic and resulted in a collapse of world crude oil prices.
On March 18, 2020 Senator Jim Inhofe sent Secretary Ross a letter requesting just such an investigation. As Senator Inhofe stated in his letter to Secretary Ross. . .” This manipulation of markets has roiled the economy, causing severe trauma to the American energy industry. It is essential that the American government respond with swift, decisive action . . . these actions taken by Saudi Arabia and Russia have added unprecedented hardship on American oil and gas producers and the thousands of blue-collar workers they employ.”
Section 232 and the Mandatory Import Program: Since 1955, Section 232 and its predecessor statute have been used on numerous occasions to address energy security concerns. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan have all invoked Section 232 as a basis for restricting oil imports or for modifying existing restrictions thereon. Section 232 investigations are initiated to determine the effects of imports of any articles on U.S. national security.
The Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA) support Senator Inhofe’s request completely as the Saudi’s and Russian’s have been very open with their crude oil “price war” and desire to drive U.S. producers out of the market and out of business. We urge Secretary Ross and the Administration to undertake a Section 232 investigation ASAP.