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Top OPEC, Saudi officials didn't discuss lowering oil prices with Trump: report

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump claims he "called up" OPEC and told the producer group to take measures to lower fuel costs.
  • That conversation did not involve Saudi Arabia's crown price or energy minister, or OPEC's secretary general, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
  • Even as oil prices tumbled following Trump's remarks, it remained unclear to whom the president was referring.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo
Mary Catherine Wellons | CNBC

Neither Saudi Arabia's energy minister nor OPEC's secretary general discussed lowering oil prices with President Donald Trump, sources told the Wall Street Journal, denying the U.S. leader's earlier claim.

Moments after the Journal reported the denials, Trump took to Twitter to double down on his earlier remark.

"Spoke to Saudi Arabia and others about increasing oil flow. All are in agreement," the president tweeted.

Earlier on Friday, Trump told reporters he had "called up" OPEC and urged the producer group to take action to bring down fuel costs.

"I called up OPEC. I said, 'You've got to bring them down. You've got to bring them down,' and gasoline's coming down," Trump said, inaccurately stating that gasoline prices are falling.

Oil prices tumbled more than 4% following Trump's comment.

When the president made the remarks, it was not clear whether Trump meant that he had contacted the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, or whether he was referring to OPEC members like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are close U.S. allies.

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But as the day wore on, it remained unclear who was on the other line with Trump. The White House did not return requests for clarification.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo did not discuss the matter with Trump, and neither did Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, sources familiar with the situation told the Journal.

Saudi officials told the Journal Trump did not speak with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussion did not involve Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo, who currently holds OPEC's rotating presidency, one of the country's oil officials told the paper.

OPEC could not immediately be reached by CNBC for comment. The Saudi Embassy did not immediately return a request for comment.