Amid skyrocketing fuel prices, President Joe Biden tried pressuring OPEC and its allies to pump much more oil than they had planned.
The response from the OPEC+ alliance, whose members include a Saudi Arabia-led group of OPEC member countries and a Russia-led group of non-member countries?
Essentially, it boiled down to, “Nope.”
Speaking Nov. 2 in Scotland, Biden blamed Russia and OPEC for rising fuel prices.
“If you take a look at, you know, 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,” he said. “And we’ll see what happens on that score sooner than later.”
But last week, the OPEC+ nations decided “to stick with their plan for cautious monthly increases” rather than let Biden call the shots, The Associated Press reported Nov. 4.
The countries “approved an increase in production of 400,000 barrels per day for the month of December at an online meeting,” according to the AP.
That” is in line with the group’s road map to add that amount of oil to the market every month into next year. The plan is to open the petroleum taps bit by bit — even as oil prices have surged to seven-year highs — until deep production cuts made during the coronavirus pandemic are restored,” the outlet added.
The OPEC+ nations are “underscoring their commitment to market stability” by acting as a market “regulator,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said, citing what the AP referred to as “wild swings in prices for natural gas.”
“Markets need to be regulated, or things may go astray as we have been seeing over the past four months,” he added.
But the Biden administration wasn’t pleased.
“Our view is that the global recovery should not be imperiled by a mismatch between supply and demand,” the White House National Security Council said in a statement. “OPEC+ seems unwilling to use the capacity and power it has now at this critical moment of global recovery for countries around the world.”
“We’ve been in conversations with energy consumer countries and we will consider the full range of tools at our disposal to bolster resilience and public confidence,” the statement added.
Writing in Forbes, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Ariel Cohen said the Biden administration’s approach to the situation comes off as “disingenuous.”
“President Biden’s overtures to OPEC + sound disingenuous against the backdrop of a Democratic Party energy doctrine, announced in January 2021, that seeks to limit production of hydrocarbons in the US and limit GHG emissions globally,” he wrote Tuesday.
“This year the Biden administration announced a moratorium on drilling permit issuances on federal lands and waters, and effectively killed the KEYSTONE XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. in the name of environmental and Native American tribal concerns. Biden wants to appeal to his Democratic voter base by reducing the climate costs of domestic fuel production, while also pressuring other nations to increase their output to lower domestic oil prices.
“In other words, politically, he wants to have his cake and eat it too.”
The price for a gallon of regular gas averaged about $3.42 Thursday in the U.S., up drastically from $2.12 a year ago, according to AAA.