Biden promises ‘consequences’ for Saudi Arabia after oil production cuts | Oil and Gas News

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, has warned Saudi Arabia that there will be ‘consequences’ after a global cartel of oil-producing countries led by the kingdom and Russia announcement that they would cut oil production over Washington’s objections.

His Tuesday remarks come a day after the influential Democratic senator Bob Menendezthe chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States must immediately freeze all cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales.

“There are going to be consequences for what they did with Russia,” Biden said in an interview with CNN.

“I’m not going to get into what I would consider and what I have in mind. But there will be, there will be consequences.

(Al Jazeera)

Last week, the OPEC+ group announced that it would cut its oil production targets by two million barrels a day, defying pressure from the United States.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said the move was aimed at stabilizing the oil market – not pushing up prices – amid interest rate hikes by central banks and the prospect of a global recession.

But critics have argued that the production restrictions are raising oil prices globally, generating more revenue for Russia to continue funding its war in Ukraine, despite Western sanctions on its economy. The move was also seen as a diplomatic slap in the face for the Biden administration as it prepares for the critical November midterm elections next month.

“It’s really seen as benefiting the president’s political adversaries in the United States,” said Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington. “High energy prices are not good politically for the president,” she added. “The other reason the White House isn’t happy with this is the fact that this is really seen as aligning with Russia.”

But Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Tuesday defended the decision, saying it “was purely economic and was taken unanimously by the [organisation’s] Member States”.

“OPEC+ members acted responsibly and took the appropriate decision,” he told Al-Arabiya TV.

Marwan Kalaban of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies told Al Jazeera he did not believe the Saudis wanted to “align with Russia”.

“Russia is currently in a rather weak position and cannot really compensate for the US alliance with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis still need the Americans very much as strong security allies amid so many challenges. “, did he declare.

He said Riyadh’s decision was made entirely on the basis of “economic reasons”.

“Oil prices have fallen in recent months and the Saudis need the money. They need to keep the price as high as possible. They have so many plans and projects in the kingdom… so they need all kinds of money to keep it going.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also defended the planned cuts on Tuesday, saying “our decisions…are not directed against anyone.”

“Our actions are aimed at ensuring the stability of global energy markets so that consumers of energy resources and those involved in production and supply feel calm, stable and confident, to help balance the supply and demand,” Putin added, as he hosted The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Saint Petersburg.

While Saudi Arabia stressed that all 23 OPEC+ members support the cut, the Financial Times reported Monday that the United Arab Emirates and Iraq had expressed apprehensions, according to multiple people briefed on the talks. Citing the same sources, the British newspaper said a UAE suggestion for a delay had also not gained traction. Following the cartel meeting in Vienna, UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the decision was “technical, not political”.

Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July and met Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, despite promising to make the kingdom an international “pariah” after the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

US intelligence claims the crown prince approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, a Saudi insider turned critic, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. The prince denied ordering the killing but admitted it took place “under my watch”. Biden said in July he told the prince he believed he was responsible.

future course

Commenting on his trip to Saudi Arabia, Biden told CNN he “didn’t go there for the oil.”

“I went there to make sure we weren’t going to drift away from the Middle East,” he said.

Separately on Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration was “re-examining” its relationship with Saudi Arabia in consultation with lawmakers in Washington and its allies abroad.

John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, said Biden would work with Congress “to consider what this relationship should look like going forward.”

“And I think he’s going to want to start having those conversations right away. I don’t think it’s something that will have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, much longer,” Kirby added.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington said in a statement on Tuesday that the relationship was “strategic” and had “enhanced security and stability in the Middle East”.

Some of Saudi Arabia supporters have also argued that the security relationship between Washington and Riyadh is mutually beneficial – not a favor of the United States.

The price too said the Biden administration would not overlook Iran, a US adversary and bitter regional rival of Saudi Arabia, in the scrutiny.

Much of the US arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been made with the Iranian threat in the region in mind.

“There are security issues, some of which emanate from Iran. Certainly, we will not lose sight of the threat Iran poses not just to the region, but in some ways beyond it,” Price said.

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