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Neither OPEC Secretary General HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo nor Saudi officials have spoken with President Trump about lowering gasoline prices, according to Wall Street Journal sources, as cited by CNBC.
President Donald Trump told reporters earlier in the day that he had “called up” OPEC, telling the group to move to reduce gasoline prices. It was unclear, however, whether the President was referring to a specific OPEC member or members, or whether he was referring to the group as a whole.
Saudi Arabia has already denied earlier in the week that there was a need to turn up the volume of oil it—and OPEC—produces, despite the end to sanction waivers that will now end on May 1.
Oil prices fell sharply earlier on Friday, partially due to President Trump’s claim that he had directed OPEC to take action. Other negative headwinds for oil prices were unremarkable Q1 financial results from some Big Oil players including Chevron and Exxon Mobil.
Regardless of the reasons behind Friday’s negative price movement that saw both WTI and Brent shed roughly 3 percent by mid-afternoon, the direction of the prices will reduce the pressure played out in the media on OPEC to increase production to lower gasoline prices at the pump for American consumers.
OPEC is currently overachieving on its commitment to remove the number of oil barrels from the market, and has room to increase production without altering their agreement which is set to be officially reviewed in June. OPEC+ members are split on their view about whether it will be necessary to extend the current agreement past June.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.