Getting inside President Donald Trump’s head was an early theme Monday at CERAWeek by IHS Markit.
Speakers were asked on the first day of the annual oil and gas confab to figure out what the US president will do next and how it will impact global energy markets.
Like with many things with Trump and his year-old Republican administration, executives, analysts and foreign industry leaders said they were scratching their heads. There seemed to be agreement that the US is not in decline, despite Trump’s suggestions to the contrary on the stump, and domestic production and exports will continue on an upswing as long as regulatory and trade policies don’t stand in the way.
“People want to believe in America’s sense of direction,” said John Scarlett, a Morgan Stanley senior adviser and former British intelligence chief.
That’s especially critical on the trade front. Trump’s talk of imposing tariffs on steel imports was the 800-pound gorilla in the room during several of the conference sessions. The virtually universal message to Trump so far from energy’s elite: Don’t go there.
“We’ll survive no matter what, but it is a thornier issue than perhaps what is printed in the headlines,” said Greg Armstrong, CEO of Plains All American Pipeline.