"There are other tools in the arsenal that we have to deal with other countries at an appropriate time," President Biden said this weekend, referring to OPEC+ and its refusal to boost crude oil supply in response to repeated calls from Washington to that tune.
The mentioning of "tools in the arsenal" came in response to a question about whether Washington was considering the release of some crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a means of reining in retail fuel prices.
"I'm not anticipating that OPEC would respond, that Russia and/or Saudi Arabia would respond," President Biden said, as quoted by Reuters. "They are going to pump some more oil. Whether they pump enough oil is a different thing."
"We can get more energy in the pipeline figuratively and literally speaking," the president added.
The U.S. administration has been urging OPEC and its partners in OPEC+ to add more barrels to their combined output since July as recovering demand for oil products pushed prices at the pump to politically uncomfortable highs.
Most recently, the calls have turned into demands and accusations of OPEC+ threatening the global economic recovery by withholding barrels from the market.
"Opec+ seems unwilling to use the capacity and power it has now at this critical moment of global recovery for countries around the world," a spokesperson for President Biden's National Security Council said last week, as quoted by the Financial Times. "Our view is that the global recovery should not be imperilled by a mismatch between supply and demand."
The option of releasing crude from the SPR has been mentioned a few times, including by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, but for now, the administration appears to be reluctant to tap the strategic reserve. As to what the other tools are that Washington plans to use to convince OPEC+ to pump more oil, details on those have yet to be shared publicly.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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