The US fossil fuel industry had harsh words for President Joe Biden after OPEC announced dramatic production cuts, saying the administration now has no choice but to encourage more domestic production.
“The White House has one opportunity left, and it’s the one opportunity they should never have turned away from in the first place — the US-based oil and gas industry,” the US Oil and Gas Association tweeted Wednesday.
‘Life gets to you pretty fast…’ the trade group added in a mocking jibe after OPEC’s announcement that it will cut oil production by about 2 million barrels a day, limiting supply at a time when gas prices are already painfully high .
U.S. oil producers, who accuse the Biden administration of stifling domestic production with overbearing regulations, responded to the OPEC move by arguing that the U.S. must dramatically increase its own output.
The US fossil fuel industry had harsh words for President Joe Biden after OPEC announced dramatic production cuts
On the 2020 campaign trail, Biden pledged to ‘get off fossil fuels’ over climate change concerns, and his administration has proposed and enacted a series of tougher regulations that have discouraged new investment in drilling and refining.
Now, with gas prices averaging a painful $3.83 nationwide and poised to rise quickly amid concerns about supply, the energy crisis could return to hurt Democrats in the looming midterm elections.
Dan Kish, senior vice president at the pro-fossil fuel Institute for Energy Research, found irony in the situation.
“President Biden and his administration have done everything in their power from day one to unilaterally disarm American energy production, and he will now blame everyone else for his dangerous policies,” Kish said, according to Forbes.
“His routine is well past getting old, and Americans are going to pay the price for his continued attacks on American energy,” he added.
“This administration’s energy policies make no sense and make us more dependent on foreign sources,” said Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council.
“Instead, the Biden administration should focus on increasing production here in the United States through thoughtful and comprehensive energy policy that helps reduce costs and makes us less dependent on foreign sources,” she added.
The American Petroleum Institute criticized Biden for severely limiting federal land leased for oil and gas production compared to previous presidents
Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July. Saudi-led OPEC defied Biden’s pleas to increase oil production by announcing major cuts
“The solution to meeting the demand for affordable, reliable energy is right here in the United States,” said American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers.
“We face a growing energy crisis driven by geopolitical instability, and American policymakers should be doing everything in their power to produce more energy here in America, not call on foreign regimes for more oil,” he added.
Meanwhile, the White House dismissed reports that it plans to ease sanctions on Venezuela in a desperate bid to boost oil exports from the socialist dictatorship.
“Our sanctions policy towards Venezuela remains unchanged. We will continue to implement and enforce our Venezuela sanctions, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told Reuters on Wednesday.
Watson said the US has no plans to change its Venezuela sanctions policy “without constructive steps” by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to restore democracy
A report followed The Wall Street Journal that Washington was preparing to ease some sanctions on Venezuela to allow Chevron Corp to resume pumping oil there.
The paper reported that in return for the sanctions, Maduro’s government would resume talks with the country’s opposition to discuss the conditions necessary to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024.
A drilling rig stands at the site of an oil well outside Williston, North Dakota in this file photo
A Chevron gas station displays prices starting at $8.35 US dollars per gallon in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday
The White House said on Wednesday that ‘it is clear’ that the OPEC+ oil alliance is ‘aligned with Russia’ after it announced a massive production cut of two million barrels.
It stands to be a major boost for Moscow, despite Western efforts to strangle oil and gas revenues as a source of cash flows to fund Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, American drivers could face another hike in gas prices, which could end up being a massive setback for the Biden administration.
Energy ministers from the OPEC cartel, whose leading member is Saudi Arabia, and allied non-members, including Russia, met in person at the group’s headquarters in Vienna for the first time since early 2020.
Their announced production cut on Tuesday is the largest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes after oil barrel prices fell about a quarter in just three months, now around $90, amid fears of a looming global recession.
However, some parts of the US have seen prices jump back up by up to 60 cents per gallon, according to the Washington Post, underscoring the already uncertain environment.
President Joe Biden was asked about OPEC+’s decision as he boarded Marine One ahead of a visit to hurricane-ravaged Florida, but told reporters he ‘needs to see the details’.
He said he was ‘concerned’ and that it was reportedly an ‘unnecessary’ move.
A joint statement from White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said Biden “is disappointed by the short-sighted decision.”
“At a time when maintaining a global supply of energy is of critical importance, this decision will have the most negative impact on lower- and middle-income countries already affected by increased energy prices,” the statement read.