US seems to reorient relations with Saudi Arabia on oil production cuts

WASHINGTON – The US secretary of state said on Wednesday the United States would reevaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s decision to support Russia by agreeing to cut oil production next month, a move that the White House insists will help Moscow’s war. efforts against Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the leaders of Saudi Arabia decided to join Russia in leading a group of oil producers to announce a production cut of 2 million bpd, which could boost prices and help Russia. Moscow is spending heavily on the war in Ukraine.

Secretary Antony J. Blinken said the United States continues to consider the decision announced by OPEC Plus, a group of 23 oil-producing countries that includes Russia, on October 5 in Vienna as a “mistake”.

“We’re not afraid to articulate the extent to which we consider it a bad decision and one that doesn’t really advance our interests,” he said at a talk at the Bloomberg office. News in Washington. He also said that a reassessment of the US-Saudi relationship will be done “in a very deliberate manner, in consultation with members of Congress as the president has said, to ensure make sure the relationship better reflects our interests.”

Saudi officials said OPEC Plus made its decisions based on economic analysis of the oil market, not political goals. They also say they do not work with Russia on oil policy.

Mr. Blinken said the US government is aware that Saudi Arabia has made a number of gestures to help Ukraine since the OPEC Plus announcement – including backing a recent UN resolution condemning Russia’s annexation. areas of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops and Riyadh announced that it plans to provide additional humanitarian aid of $400 million to Ukraine.

“Both are positive developments,” said Mr. Blinken. “They don’t compensate OPEC Plus’ decision on output, but we note it.”

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping economic sanctions on Russia since the country began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, but Russia continues to derive significant revenue from Russia. oil exports due to rising global oil prices. The OPEC Plus announcement has not yet sent oil prices soaring, but US officials are watching what happens when the output drop takes effect in November.

The United States and its European allies are also trying to figure out a complicated mechanism to impose a price ceiling on Russian oil around the same time that a partial European embargo on the commodity took effect in the early part of the year. December. The OPEC Plus announcement in October complicated those discussions.

In late September, US officials tried to convince Saudi Arabia not to lead OPEC Plus to announce production cuts, but failed in their efforts. US officials say they reached a separate agreement with Saudi officials in May for Saudi Arabia to push OPEC Plus to announce a gradual increase in oil production throughout the fall to help reduce high oil prices. . Saudi officials object to that, saying they act based on market conditions.


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