Earlier on Monday, the price of West Texas intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May fell into negative territory for the first time in history, meaning that investors would theoretically pay to have the excess crude carted away. WTI eventually rebounded to finish at $37 per barrel.
"Given today's news, I am calling on the Department of Commerce to conduct an expedited anti-dumping investigation into Saudi Arabia," Conaway said in the statement on Monday. "Enough is enough. We must use all the tools available in our arsenal."
Conaway, who represents a district in the energy-rich state of Texas, complained that American fossil-fuel producers are in a "fight of their lives", noting that the US Department of Energy is in talks with nine large US oil companies to store domestically-produced crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to add capacity.
Another US lawmaker from an energy-rich state, GOP Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, called for sanctions against Russia and Saudi Arabia, accusing the two nations of engaging in a conspiracy to crush US oil and gas producers in a bid to capture global market share.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shattered demand for oil in the US and the rest of the world, with much of America subject to stay-at-home orders and roads and airways nearly devoid of traffic. That, combined with a Russian-Saudi oil price war, has produced an unprecedented glut that exceeds storage capacity in many countries.