President Biden did not hold back in sharing his disappointment in the Saudi-led OPEC+’s announcement that they would be making cuts in oil production. White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden described the move by OPEC+ as “short-sighted while the global economy is dealing with the continuous negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.” He sees this announcement as OPEC+ aligning itself with Russia and promised to announce consequences in the coming days.
OPEC+ and Saudi Arabia have denied claims that this move was meant to help an ailing Russia, saying the cuts were instead due to the uncertainty about the future of the global economy and oil markets.
While the consequences are unknown, they will likely cause further volatility in an already turbulent energy market. The cuts beginning just as the winter sets in will cause many Western nations to consider lifting oil embargos placed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. This could include the U.S. With the midterms next month, the strength of the U.S. response (and subsequent fallout) could shift critical races across the country and determine the future of the country’s involvement with Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia has made great efforts to improve its relationship with the U.S. since the 2018 murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but this announcement has undone most of that goodwill.
With the midterms next month, the strength of the U.S. response (and subsequent fallout) could shift critical races across the country.
The White House is expected to announce a response this week. Biden has stated he will not be meeting with Saudi leaders at the upcoming G20 summit, setting the tone for what the future likely holds.
Given that gas prices are a vital issue in the forthcoming election, we can expect a strong response before the midterms.