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Macron is overheard warning Biden over oil shortages at G7

Emmanuel Macron has been caught telling Joe Biden that their allies in the Middle East cannot increase oil production as the EU tries to replace the Russian crude it has vowed to ban by the end of the year.

Speaking to his US counterpart on Monday evening on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany, the French president warned that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are nearing capacity limits and unable to make up the deficit.

His words will raise fears that shortages that have led to high gasoline and energy costs are permanent and worsen as the European ban on most Russian oil products comes into effect by the end of the year – with gas sanctions to follow.

Macron was caught on camera warning Biden that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are unable to fill the quota of Russian oil to be banned from the EU this winter

Macron was caught on camera warning Biden that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are unable to fill the quota of Russian oil to be banned from the EU this winter

The French president was interrupted by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (right), who advised the men to move away from nearby cameras

The French president was interrupted by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan (right), who advised the men to move away from nearby cameras

Macron may have urged Biden to increase U.S. production — something he has been reluctant to do under pressure from environmental groups — as a way to fix the deficit.

However, it’s unclear from the short audio clip that was cut off when US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan cut the two men to suggest they continue the conversation indoors because of nearby cameras.

The footage shows Macron saying: ‘I had a phone call with MbZ’, short for UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

“He told me two things,” the French president continued. ‘I am at a maximum, maximum (production capacity). This is what he claims.

And then he said that (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands of barrels a day). Maybe a little more, but they won’t have enormous capacities for six months.’

Sullivan interrupted the two men and said, “Watch out. Maybe we should go in… because of the cameras.”

Europe is looking for ways to replace some 2 million barrels of oil it buys from Russia a day as the continent imposes sanctions on Putin’s regime over the war in Ukraine.

The EU will ban all Russian oil imports by sea (file image) and most through pipelines by the end of the year, and is working to replace about 2 million barrels per day

The EU will ban all Russian oil imports by sea (file image) and most through pipelines by the end of the year, and is working to replace about 2 million barrels per day

The EU wants the import bans to deprive Putin of the money he needs to wage war in Ukraine, but they have also led to huge spikes in petrol and energy prices

The EU wants the import bans to deprive Putin of the money he needs to wage war in Ukraine, but they have also led to huge spikes in petrol and energy prices

It comes after Ursula Von Der Leyen, the EU commissioner, announced earlier this month that the bloc will ban 90 percent of Russia’s oil imports by the end of the year.

All seagoing imports of Russian oil and petroleum products will be halted, with only a partial exemption for oil coming through pipelines.

The concession secured support from countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which are heavily dependent on imports.

Import bans are designed to punish Putin for invading Ukraine and deprive him of the money he needs to fund his war effort.

But they also help drive up prices and exacerbate inflation, which hampers economies, especially in the West.

Biden – who has already released some oil from US strategic reserves as an emergency measure – had hoped to get Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ramp up their own production as a way to calm the market.

But if we are to believe Macron’s words, it seems that neither country will be able to close the gap.

Unless the US is willing to ramp up its own production, that raises the prospect of further price hikes and even potential energy shortages in the winter when energy demand rises.

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a press conference after the G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a press conference after the G7 summit

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who hosted the conference, addresses media after the three-day summit ended today

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who hosted the conference, addresses media after the three-day summit ended today

G7 leaders and their allies pose for the cameras at a summit in Bavaria, Germany as their three-day summit draws to a close

G7 leaders and their allies pose for the cameras at a summit in Bavaria, Germany as their three-day summit draws to a close

A statement from the UAE’s top energy official late Monday said his country produces its allocated OPEC+ quota of 3,168 million barrels per day (bpd).

“In light of recent media reports, I would like to clarify that the UAE is producing almost our maximum production capacity based on the current OPEC+ production base,” said Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei.

World oil prices have risen steadily in recent months due to a shortage of supply and a recovery in demand after the worst corona epidemic. Prices have risen further since Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February.

On Monday, the crude oil benchmark rose after Reuters reported Macron’s comments. The price of Brent oil rose 1.7% to above $115 a barrel as the West seeks ways to cut Russian oil imports to punish Moscow.

Saudi Arabia produces 10.5 million bpd and has a nominal capacity of 12.0 million-12.5 million bpd, theoretically allowing it to increase production by 2 million.

The UAE produces about 3 million bpd, has a capacity of 3.4 million and is working to increase it to 4 million bpd.

Europe is looking for ways to replace as much as 2 million barrels a day of Russian crude oil and some 2 million barrels a day of refined products it had imported from Moscow before the war in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden, center, prepares to board Marine One as he leaves G7 summit

President Joe Biden, center, prepares to board Marine One as he leaves G7 summit

Biden waves as he walks on the tarmac next to Air Force One at Munich International Airport

Biden waves as he walks on the tarmac next to Air Force One at Munich International Airport

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