The US is still worried about the OPEC+ group’s decision to cut crude oil production target by 2 million barrels per day (bpd), pointing out that the decision came at “the worst possible moment” and will have a wide-ranging impact on the economy and inflation.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, Barbara Leaf, said yesterday during a visit to Kuwait, that the move by OPEC+ to reduce oil output is coming just as the world was recovering from the COVID slump of 2020 and has to face the economic challenges of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Other top officials of US administration had reacted last week, saying there would be some consequences for Saudi Arabia for its decision to play on the said of Russia in the decision.
The US officials had accused Saudi Arabia of working together with Russia to steer OPEC+ into a large oil production cut after the cartel endorsed earlier this month a decision to reduce the headline production target by 2 million bpd as of November.
Since then, members of the oil producers group have been defending the group’s decision to reduce production in a wave of statements on Sunday and Monday, in what looked like a coordinated response to U.S. criticism of the cut, and possible plan to make Saudi Arabia scapegoat.
Shortly after President Joe Biden said “there will be consequences” for OPEC+’s decision, Saudi Arabia came out with a statement that expressed “its total rejection” of Biden’s and other statements from Washington with regard to the decision.
The UAE’s energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei wrote on Twitter on Sunday, “I would like to clarify that the latest OPEC+ decision, which was unanimously approved was a pure technical decision, with NO political intentions whatsoever.”
“There’s no question that there have been statements both from Riyadh and Washington telling us that all is not well,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, Dana Stroul, said at the same press briefing in Kuwait on Wednesday: “We’re going to have to recommit to dialog to discuss a way forward.”