OPEC+ oil decision infuriates US administration

Andrey Yashlavsky

The Biden administration is outraged by the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production. Senior US officials see the move as a snub to the US and a sign that the oil producers’ club is showing solidarity with Russia.
The US administration of President Joe Biden and its supporters angrily reacted to the decision of OPEC + to cut oil production, seeing it as a rebuff to the efforts of the US president to improve relations with Saudi Arabia.
As The Guardian notes, the White House has made it clear that it views the oil cartel’s decision, in which the plus sign means Russia is included, to cut daily production by 2 million barrels as a geopolitical move and a snub to Biden, who seeks to cut Russian revenues and lower the United States. US gas prices ahead of the November congressional elections.
Biden angered his supporters by visiting Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in July, wh-ere he was caught on camera greeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in hopes of increased oil production and lower oil prices, despite US intelligence findings that behind the murder in 2018 of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is this de facto ruler of the kingdom, writes The Guardian.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said: “It is clear that today’s OPEC+ statement supports Russia.”
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement that President Biden was “disappointed by the short-sighted decision … as the global economy faces the continued negative impact” of the conflict in Ukraine.
“I think this is a mistake on their part. And I think it’s time for a complete reass-essment of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said in an interview with CNBC.
And New Jersey Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowski introduced legislation that would require US troops to be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “Our signal to MBS (to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman – MK) should be: “If you want to side with Putin, then ask Putin to protect you. And good luck with this, ”wrote Malinovsky on the social network.
Khalid Aljabri, whose father Saad is a senior Saudi intelligence officer in exile, argued that whatever the implications, part of the intention behind Riyadh’s involvement in the OPEC+ decision was about US policy. “Previous monarchs we-re able to optimize between maximizing Saudi oil revenues and aligning industrial policies with the interests of their Western security guarantors, mainly the US,” Aljabri says. “Prince Moh-ammed is different. Unlike his predecessors, he has an astute eye for US domestic politics and is well aware that high gas prices and inflation can sway an election in favor of the incumbent and his party.” Despite the anger in Washington, experts on Saudi Arabia and the oil market have questioned how much this decision will affect bilateral relations between the United States and the Arabian kingdom, which are already fraying.
“I don’t think the Saudis think there’s much the US administration can do to meaningfully express its dissatisfaction, and I don’t think the US expects Saudi Arabia to go against OPEC discussions in its own interest,” said a Middle East security expert. East Kirsten Fontenrose. “So I think the Saudis know the US won’t like it, but they don’t care.” As part of his proposals to Riyadh in the summer, Biden approved the sale of a significant amount of weapons to Saudi Arabia, but after the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, NATO allies, who provided weapons to Kyiv and hope to replenish their arsenals, in accordance with the rules of the alliance, jumped ahead of the queue for American weapons, bypassing Saudis. So Biden’s promise to sell weapons was never fulfilled, writes The Guardian.
Ed Hiers, an energy expert at the University of Houston’s economics department, also said the West had not provided the vaccines that Saudi Arabia needed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and the country was experiencing a high death rate.
“The United States has nothing to offer at the moment, and the Saudis see no reason to provide any assistance,” said Ed Hiers.
However, according to The Guardian, it is possible that the reduction in production will not have a big impact on prices. Despite beating forecasts earlier this week of a 1-1.5 million barrel output cut, several OPEC producers are already producing below their allowances, so the actual cut could be closer to 900,000 barrels.
“OPEC countries don’t want to be able to supply too many barrels to the global economy, which we-akens them,” Hirs added. – This is not a break with the West, because relations have already been severed. We didn’t really help them in very difficult times.”