Following OPEC+’s announcement on Wednesday that it would reduce its production quotas by two million barrels per day beginning in November, the White House expressed its dismay. (Biden calls OPEC decision “disappointment”)
Russia is a member of the OPEC+ alliance, which made the decision likely in response to lower oil prices and lower demand as a result of a global economic slowdown. Oil prices are down from their peak of more than $100 in late spring and early summer, when they were around $80 per barrel.
It comes just a few months after Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia in July to lobby Middle Eastern allies to increase production. Reducing supply will likely raise the cost of oil, which could raise the price Americans pay at the pump around the midterm election in November.
In a statement, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said, “The president is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.” (Biden calls OPEC decision “disappointment”)
In addition, the White House stated that President Biden had instructed the Department of Energy to release an additional 10 million oil barrels from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve next month. This indicates that the administration is working to keep gas prices low in the month leading up to the crucial midterm elections. According to a press release from the Energy Department, the release was originally planned.
When asked about the OPEC+ alliance’s decision as he left the White House for Florida on Wednesday morning, Biden gave little response.
When a reporter shouted a question about the decision, Biden replied, “I need to see what the detail is.” It’s unnecessary, which worries me.
In light of the OPEC+ announcement, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, stated that the administration would continue to ensure that energy prices are “kept low.” According to AAA, the national average price of a gallon of gas is now $3.83, up about 62 cents from last year.
In light of the president’s inability to control record-high gas prices, which reached a summer high of over $5 per gallon, he and his administration have repeatedly emphasized falling prices over the past few weeks.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on Tuesday, “And thanks to this president’s efforts, we — and his historic actions that he has taken, energy prices have declined sharply from their highs and American consumers are paying far less at the pump than they were several months ago.”
She continued, “And once more, it’s because of the historic steps that this president has taken.” From the podium, Jean-Pierre did not directly address the anticipated move of the OPEC+ alliance.
However, the White House’s decision to claim credit for pump relief is very different from the administration’s earlier messaging. The White House blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for high energy issues before floating federal action that never happened in an attempt to counter negative daily headlines about skyrocketing pump prices, which was largely unsuccessful.
In addition, Biden went to Saudi Arabia in July, when gas prices fell slightly from their peak in June, to attend a contentious meeting with Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salam. According to OPEC+, the nation in the Middle East has roughly 17% of the world’s petroleum reserves.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Biden stated, “We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth.” I’m doing everything I can to boost supplies for the United States, which I anticipate will happen,” he continued.
“Based on our discussions today, I expect we will see further steps in the coming weeks,” Biden stated. “The Saudis share that urgency.”
Others criticized Biden for his infamous fist bump with a man who was accused of human rights abuses, including the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Some thought the move was desperate. (Biden calls OPEC decision “disappointment”)
The OPEC+ announcement on Wednesday comes roughly a month after the alliance announced a reduction of 100,000 barrels per day for October. In September, a similar reduction in oil production also took effect.
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