FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is considering taking stakes in U.S. energy companies as one possible option as it seeks to help the nation’s oil and gas sector amid the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.

President Donald Trump, speaking alongside Mnuchin at a White House event, said he wants to help the oil and gas industry and suggested the federal government could buy fuel for the country in advance as well as purchase airline tickets in advance.

“We’re looking at a whole bunch of alternatives,” Mnuchin said.

Trump also said that Russia and Saudi Arabia could make further production cuts amid the glut in the oil market amid the pandemic, adding that Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota are cutting production as well as Canada.

“It’s going to be natural at this point,” Trump said of such cuts.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Lisa Lambert; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski

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