Biden ‘disappointed’ with OPEC+’s ‘shortsighted’ output cut
President Joe Biden is “disappointed” with the OPEC+ cartel’s decision to slash oil production output and believes it will hurt the world economy, the White House said Wednesday.
“The president is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and top economic advisor Brian Deese said in a statement.
The supply cut will hit countries “already reeling” from high prices while “the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact” of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the statement said.
The decision by OPEC+, which came despite reports of frantic lobbying from Washington, puts Biden and his Democratic party in a bind by potentially kickstarting fuel price hikes just five weeks ahead of midterm elections where the Republicans hope to take control of Congress.
The statement said Biden was ordering another dip into the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with 10 million barrels set to be put on the market next month in an attempt to dampen prices rises.
However, those reserves are fast emptying out after record withdrawals ordered by the administration, starting back in March. The reserves are now at their lowest level since July 1984 and it is not clear when the administration plans to purchase a refill.
The next releases will continue “as appropriate to protect American consumers and promote energy security, and (Biden) is directing the secretary of energy to explore any additional responsible actions to continue increasing domestic production in the immediate term,” the statement said.
In addition, the administration will “consult with Congress on additional tools and authorities to reduce OPEC’s control over energy prices,” the statement said.
Along with supply chain hold-ups in the wake of the Covid-19 shutdowns, high fuel prices are to blame for helping push the highest inflation in the United States for four decades.