By Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday welcomed a decision by top oil producers to stick with their plans to raise crude production and touted “close” coordination with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier on Tuesday, a group of producers comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia stuck to a planned increase of 400,000 barrels per day for February.
The decision not to hike output even more helped lift oil prices further. Brent crude rose 50% last year and has rallied so far in 2022, trading 2% up above $80 on Tuesday. [O/R]
“The administration is focused on making sure supply rises to match demand as the global economy recovers and that Americans see lower prices at the pump – where we have seen progress in recent weeks,” said a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council who declined to be named.
The spokesperson added that the OPEC+ decision would support the global economic recovery.
“We appreciate the close coordination over the recent weeks with our partners Saudi Arabia, UAE, and other OPEC+ producers to help address price pressures. We welcome OPEC+ decision to continue increases in production.”
In prior months, the Biden administration blasted identical increases in production by OPEC+ as insufficient, and criticized the group of producers for hobbling the economic recovery from the recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration, under pressure due to sharply higher inflation on a range of consumer goods, also took aim at possible price gouging by gasoline sellers and announced a release from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
OPEC+, which next meets on Feb. 2, sharply cut 10 million barrels per day in production during 2020 as demand tumbled.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)