Biden Keeps Pressure on OPEC+ to Boost Output, Citing Inflation
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Joe Biden kept up the pressure on OPEC+ to combat high oil prices, blaming it for inflationary pressure at home just two days before Saudi Arabia, Russia and the rest of the cartel meet to discuss oil policy.
“If you take a look at gas prices, and you take a look at oil prices, that is a consequence of, thus far, the refusal of Russia or the OPEC nations to pump more oil,” Biden told reporters at a news conference at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow. “And we’ll see what happens on that score sooner than later.”
The pressure on OPEC+ is unusually strong. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to press for increased production. Other oil-consuming nations are pushing hard as well, with Japan and India wanting more production as the energy crisis threatens to undermine the economic recovery in Europe and Asia.
As gasoline prices pose increasing domestic political risks, the issue came up on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting over the weekend in Rome, with Biden administration officials calling for more production when producers meet on Thursday.
Members including Kuwait, Iraq, Algeria, Angola and Nigeria have indicated that they want OPEC+ to stick with its current plan to increase output gradually.
Biden said Sunday he was “reluctant to say” what he and other leaders would do if major producers opted not to pump more oil. His national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Biden had a “broad discussion about the tools available with other energy consumers” about potential steps, but pointed to the president’s comments in declining to say whether the U.S. and other nations were considering a coordinated release from their petroleum reserves.
Biden came under criticism from activists at the climate summit, who said he was being hypocritical by pushing for higher oil output even as he attended a meeting where leaders said they wanted to transition to cleaner fuel sources.
But Biden has said high fuel prices are imposing costs on working- and middle-class Americans commuting to work, and that prices should be held lower as consumers transition to alternate energy sources to power their vehicles.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.