Biden Promises ‘Consequences’ for Saudis After OPEC+ Cuts Oil Production

Washington, MINA – The US President Joe Biden promised “consequences” for Saudi Arabia after a coalition of oil-producing countries led by Riyadh sided with Russia to cut production.

The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel and its 10 allies led by Moscow, known collectively as OPEC+, angered the White House last week with its decision to cut output by two million barrels per day from November, raising concerns that oil prices can soar.

“I’m not going to go into what I’m considering and what’s on my mind. But there will be, there will be consequences,” Biden told American broadcaster CNN Wednesday, The New Arab reported.

The Democratic leader did not reveal what options are being considered, but the White House has made it clear earlier that Biden is reassessing relations between the allies.

“I think the President has been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to review,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN. “Of course given the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is.”

OPEC’s move is widely seen as a diplomatic slap in the face since Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia in July and met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, although he vowed to make the Kingdom an international “pariah” after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It also comes at a sensitive time for Democrats, as they face November midterm elections with rising consumer prices a key Republican campaign point.

The Wall Street Journal quoted sources as saying that in the days leading up to the OPEC move, US officials had asked for figures from Saudi Arabia and other major Gulf oil-producing countries to delay cuts for a month.

The Saudis rejected the request, seeing it as an attempt to avoid negative news before the upcoming US midterm elections.

However, US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson denied Washington was politically motivated. American officials cast doubt on the Saudi view that oil prices would fall soon and asked them to wait for the market response.

Saudi Arabia has defended the planned production cuts, saying OPEC+’s priority is “to maintain a sustainable oil market”.

On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the Al-Arabiya channel the move was “purely economic and was taken unanimously by the member states [of the organization].”

“OPEC+ members acted responsibly and took the right decisions,” he said. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)