Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Support U.S. Oil & Gas Industry in Call With North Dakota Petroleum Council, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy

Senator Introducing Bill to Support Domestic Producers through $3 Billion in SPR Purchases, Highlights Support for Industry under CARES Act

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today hosted Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg and Small Business Administration (SBA) North Dakota District Director Alan Haut in a video conference with the North Dakota Petroleum Council and its members, where the senator outlined: 

  • His efforts to support the domestic oil industry and end the global oil price war.
    • This includes bipartisan, bicameral legislation Hoeven announced today to buy and store $3 billion of U.S.-produced oil using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
  • The support available to North Dakota’s energy producers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Due to technical difficulties, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette was unable to join this afternoon’s call; however, Senator Hoeven spoke with the Secretary immediately following the call, and the Secretary indicated:

  • He has spoken with both the Saudi and Russian Energy Ministers and is working to get an agreement between them to reduce production.
  • The teleconference between the OPEC members and Russia, as well as other oil producing nations, is scheduled to go ahead on Thursday and he believes we will see reductions as the President indicated.
  • The Secretary is moving forward to lease supply space for oil in the SPR and is working with Hoeven on his legislation to get congressional approval to buy American oil to put in the SPR. 

“The shale oil revolution has been a tremendous boost both for our economy and our national security,” said Hoeven. “The combined impacts of COVID-19 and the global price war are a real threat to this critical industry and could undermine our long-term capacity for domestic energy production. That’s why we’ve been hard at work to end the price war and provide support, both in the CARES Act and through measures like my SPR legislation. We’ve been working closely with the Department of Energy in these efforts, and I appreciate Assistant Secretary Winberg and SBA District Director Haut for being willing to talk directly to North Dakota’s energy producers about these ongoing challenges and how to access the assistance we’re putting in place.”


Hoeven has been working with the administration and his Senate colleagues to provide stability to global energy markets and bring an end to the global oil price war. In recent conversations with the administration and Saudi leadership, Hoeven has repeatedly stressed the economic impacts of COVID-19, the importance of U.S. domestic energy production to the nation’s security and the need for Saudi Arabia to work with the U.S. and the community of nations to stop the oil price war and battle the pandemic. Specifically, the senator has raised these issues with:

  • President Trump, Secretary Brouillette and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S.
  • The Saudi Crown Prince, in a letter Hoeven joined with his Senate colleagues.

At the same time, Hoeven has been working with Secretary Brouillette to advance additional options to support producers, including through the SPR and “Buy American” initiatives. Accordingly, Hoeven announced earlier today that he is introducing bipartisan, bicameral legislation with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher to provide $3 billion in funding to purchase crude oil produced in the United States for the SPR, which not only helps domestic producers but also benefits taxpayers.


During today’s call, Hoeven and Director Haut reviewed the programs established under the CARES Act, which can be used to benefit energy companies and their employees. Hoeven encouraged the participants to closely monitor federal and state resources online in order to apply for assistance. These resources, as well as detailed information on the CARES Act and first two phases of federal assistance, can be found on the senator’s website here

Specifically, the senator highlighted:

  • Direct Assistance to Individuals – provides up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and an additional $500 per child. The payments begin phasing out for individuals and couples with incomes of $75,000 and $150,000, respectively.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program – enables small businesses and self-employed individuals to maintain payroll through forgivable, federally-guaranteed loans.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – expands unemployment benefits to those who would otherwise be ineligible, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors.
    • The Phase II legislation also provided self-employed individuals with refundable tax credits for family and sick leave, covering those who are required to quarantine or are caring for a child who is sick or whose school or child care facility has closed.
  • The Employee Retention Tax Credit – provides employers with a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit for wages paid to employees, including those who are furloughed or facing reduced hours.