U.S. President Joe Biden returned to Washington from a trip to the Middle East without receiving a specific commitment from the top OPEC producers to boost oil supply to the market in the very near term.
President Biden visited Saudi Arabia and even met last week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after making a U-turn in his attitude toward the Kingdom in recent months.
Two years ago, President Biden described Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” state and criticized it for its track record of abuses of human rights.
During meetings in Saudi Arabia and on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Jeddah over the past week, President Biden failed to secure firm pledges from the Saudis, Iraq, or the UAE—the largest producers in OPEC—for an imminent supply increase.
This much was expected, as multiple sources and U.S. officials told agencies last week that there would not be any public announcement on an immediate oil supply boost. Instead, the White House issued vague statements about market stability.
At the end of the summit of the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the White House said, “The leaders recognized ongoing efforts of OPEC+ towards stabilizing the global oil market in the interests of consumers, producers, and supporting economic growth. They welcomed the recent announcement by OPEC+ members to increase supply over the course of July and August, and commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leading role in achieving consensus between the members of OPEC+.”
Referring to the meeting with Saudi Arabia’s leaders, the White House said that the United States had welcomed the increase in production levels 50 percent above what was planned for July and August.
“These steps and further steps that we anticipate over the coming weeks have and will help stabilize markets considerably,” the White House added.
President Biden commented on his meetings in Saudi Arabia, “We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth. And that will begin shortly. And I’m doing all I can to increase the supply for the United States of America, which I expect to happen. The Saudis share that urgency, and based on our discussions today, I expect we’ll see further steps in the coming weeks.”
OPEC+ are meeting on August 3 to decide how their production pact would (or would not) proceed from September onwards now that the group will have rolled back all the production cuts it implemented in May 2020.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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