By Paul Homewood
The Biden White House has tried every gimmick to lower gas prices other than the one that would really matter: Call off its political and regulatory campaign against American oil and gas production.
As diplomatic humiliations go, it’s hard to top Wednesday’s decision by Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ allies to cut oil production by two million barrels a day despite U.S. entreaties and a looming global recession.
News broke over the weekend that OPEC and its allies, including Russia, were contemplating cutting their production targets by one million barrels a day at their meeting this week. They want higher prices, and the prospect that this means rising gasoline prices before the November election sent the White House into overdrive.
CNN reported that senior Biden officials lobbied the Saudis, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to oppose the production cuts. According to CNN, draft White House talking points for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested that she inform our Mideast allies that “There is great political risk to your reputation and relations with the United States and the west if you move forward.”
The talking points also explained that production cuts would be a “total disaster.” A White House official told CNN “it’s important everyone is aware of just how high the stakes are.” The stakes certainly are high for the Biden Administration, which has claimed credit for this summer’s decline in gasoline prices.
The Saudis heard all this—and then raised their production cuts by an additional million barrels a day. They don’t seem to think risking relations with the U.S. is all that big a deal. And they put friendly relations with Russia above their “reputation” in the U.S.
The White House reacted in a statement on Wednesday—from national security adviser Jake Sullivan and economic adviser Brian Deese—by calling the production cuts “shortsighted.” The statement also said the decision is “a reminder of why it is so critical that the United States reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.”
Do these people know how preposterous they sound? No American President has done more to make the U.S. more dependent on foreign energy than Mr. Biden has in less than two years. He came into office promising to slash U.S. oil and gas production, and his regulators and the Democratic Congress are doing everything they can to make drilling difficult and investment non-economic.
Mr. Biden called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” during the 2020 campaign, delayed a planned arms shipment, and continues to pursue a nuclear deal with Iran that would give the Saudis’ main enemy hundreds of billions of dollars to promote terrorism and other trouble. The President had to go hat in hand to the Saudi Crown Prince in July to ask for more oil production, and all he got was a lousy fist bump.
Oil prices have been rising since Monday amid news of the OPEC productions cuts, and those cuts will flow into pump prices for U.S. consumers. Brent crude is back above $93 a barrel, and OPEC seems to want the price to go above $100. That will finance Russia’s war in Ukraine and help the domestic finances of the Arab governments.
The Biden White House has tried every gimmick to lower gas prices other than the one that would really matter: Call off its political and regulatory campaign against American oil and gas production. A statement from Mr. Biden to that effect would spur more production immediately in the Permian Basin and encourage new investment.
But the Administration won’t do it because it is too afraid of, or shares the beliefs of, the climate left that wants to ban fossil fuels. That’s the definition of “shortsighted,” and it leads to humiliations like the one Wednesday and higher prices for American families.
Yes indeed! The US does not have to go cap in hand to OPEC; it merely needs to get get domestic production growing again.
The US EIA’s own data highlights the problem. Last year, US crude oil output was 9% lower than in 2019:
So far this year, crude oil production is running at about 2% higher than last, but there is no indication of this being a sustained one.
Instead the real danger is that Biden’s war against fossil fuels will lead to a long term stagnation or even decline in coming years.
If you think oil prices are high now, just wait!