The US oil and gas industry trade association American Petroleum Institute (API) has asked President Donald Trump to suspend certain regulatory requirements for the oil and gas sector to ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A letter signed by API President Michael Sommers addressing Trump read that the global oil and gas industry has been severely impacted due to the Covid-19 virus.

The virus has so far infected over 250,000 people globally.

The API group noted that it was mainly concerned that the virus would leave the trade association group with limited numbers of healthy staff to run critical business operations.

Michael Sommers said in the letter: “The oil and natural gas industry, like other critical infrastructure sectors, is working tirelessly to ensure there is no interruption in our supply chains as a result of this pandemic.

“We will be requesting assistance in temporarily waiving non-essential compliance obligations from the relevant agencies and departments within your administration and/or their state counterparts, and may include recordkeeping, training or other non-safety critical requirements.”

According to API, the regulatory relief could include waivers for seasonal fuel requirements, as well as the suspension of non-essential inspections and audits, as well as certain considerations with respect to leasing and permitting.

In December 2017, American oil and gas companies launched a new partnership to expedite emission cuts from operations across the country. This decision was taken as part of a meeting convened by the API, with participation from several firms representing the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, the White House reported that a member of vice-president Mike Pence’s staff tested positive.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country so far has 15,268 cases and 201 deaths.

Reuters reported that a slump in oil prices was mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and a price war between major global producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.