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Biden admin asked for 1-month delay in OPEC+ cut, Saudis say

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
October 13, 2022

The Biden administration angled for a one-month delay in a recent cut to international oil production, according to the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry.

The kingdom told U.S. officials such a delay would have had “negative economic consequences,” the ministry claimed in a statement tweeted Thursday.

A delay in the decision by OPEC+, a group of oil-exporting countries led by Saudi Arabia, to cut 2 million barrels a day could have been good for gas prices, potentially helping Democratic candidates in November’s midterm elections.

The cut is a “major reversal” for OPEC+, which lately has been undoing pandemic-related cuts, according to CBNC. Oil prices recently fell by about a third amid recession fears, CNBC reported.

The national average gas price is $3.91, up from $3.87 a week ago and $3.71 a month ago, according to AAA.

The Saudi statement insisted the cut is “purely” economic, intended to balance supply-and-demand and manage price volatility, adding that it was “adopted through consensus,” not dictated by a single country.

The cut announced last week can also be seen as a hit to U.S. foreign policy, which has tried to limit oil exports from Russia, an OPEC+ member, amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week the “short-sighted” production cut made it “clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia.” Biden himself said Tuesday “there will be consequences” for the cut.

The Saudi foreign ministry rejected accusations of political bias, expressing its “total rejection” that it is “taking sides in an international conflict” or “politically motivated” against the U.S.

As far as the Ukraine invasion is concerned, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Tuesday that the kingdom aims “to push the parties … to dialogue to end the conflict.”