The Saudi Arabian government stated Wednesday that the Biden administration lobbied the kingdom to get OPEC+ to delay announcing its two million barrels per day oil cut for a month.
OPEC+ announced its decision on Oct. 5, meaning delaying a month would have pushed the news until right before next month’s midterm elections and after weeks of early voting in many states.
The Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry said in a Wednesday evening statement that OPEC+’s production cut was not “politically motived against” the U.S.
Rather after “continuous consultation with the U.S. administration” the cartel decided against delaying the announcement due to the “negative economic consequences” that would have created for OPEC+.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the statements issued about the Kingdom following the OPEC+ decision. pic.twitter.com/Bo7JVPDzFo
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 12, 2022
The ministry’s statement confirmed a Tuesday Wall Street Journal story that said the Biden administration had sought to delay the announcement until just before the midterm elections.
The Journal reported, “Saudi officials dismissed the requests, which they viewed as a political gambit by the Biden administration to avoid bad news ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, on which control of Congress hangs. High gas prices and inflation have been central issues in the campaign.
“Instead, the people said, the kingdom leaned on its OPEC allies to approve the cut, which is aimed at reducing production by 2 million barrels a day.”
Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, rejected the notion that the Biden administration sought the delay for political reasons. “It’s categorically false to connect this to U.S. elections,” Watson told the Journal. “It’s about the impact of this shortsighted decision to the global economy.”
President Joe Biden traveled to the kingdom in July and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a push to get the Saudis to produce more oil.
Fox Business reported that the Biden administration announced just hours after the OPEC+ production cut was adopted that it would be releasing an additional 10 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in November.
The SPR is at its lowest level since 1984.
Reuters reported that when President Joe Biden initially announced the program of selling from the SPR in March, he said the sales would continue through October.
The move was made to help reduce gas prices. After falling over the summer, prices have gone up in recent weeks and now stand at an average of $3.91 per gallon nationally, though in several western states the average is closer to $5 per gallon or more.
Upon assuming office in January 2021, Biden took several steps under the auspices of addressing climate change — including a moratorium on oil drilling on federal lands.
The U.S. government controls 28 percent of land in the country, with much higher percentages in the oil rich states of Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado and California.
The current administration has leased the fewest number of acres for oil drilling, both on land and offshore, of any administration going back to World War II.
The Journal reported last month, “President [Joe] Biden’s Interior Department leased 126,228 acres for drilling through Aug. 20, his first 19 months in office, [an] analysis found. No other president since Richard Nixon in 1969-70 leased out fewer than 4.4 million acres at this stage in his first term.”
According to Energy Information Administration, the U.S. produced 11.8 million barrels per day in July, the latest figure available, which is down from the country’s peak production of roughly 13 million in November 2019 under the Trump administration.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.