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The OPEC decision, a blow for Biden

In a press release, he said he was "disappointed with the short-sighted decision" of the cartel of countries producing and exporting black gold.

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The OPEC decision, a blow for Biden

In a press release, he said he was "disappointed with the short-sighted decision" of the cartel of countries producing and exporting black gold.

“It is clear that with its decision today, OPEC aligns itself with Russia”, then declared, in hardening the tone, its spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.

The 13 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and their ten partners led by Russia have agreed to a drop of “two million” barrels per day for the month of November.

This drastic cut could cause crude prices to soar to the benefit of producing countries, including Russia, which needs hydrocarbon sales to finance its invasion of Ukraine.

- Strategic reserves -

Faced with this economic and electoral risk, the White House is already sketching out its response. It will in particular "put on the market next month ten million barrels taken from the strategic oil reserves".

The US executive had already decided in March to use these black gold reserves for several months, now at their lowest since July 1984.

"The United States cannot forever draw on strategic reserves (...) and OPEC knows it", notes analyst Andy Lipow (Lipow Oil Associates), for whom the solution would be "to produce more oil on American soil.

The president, whom the Republican opposition regularly accuses of having restrained the oil sector, promised on Wednesday to explore “any additional responsible action to continue to increase production with immediate effect” in the United States.

Joe Biden also wants to think about the best way to "reduce OPEC's control over energy prices", according to the long press release from the White House, which does not however explain what it means by that. .

According to Andy Lipow, Joe Biden has another rather radical lever: he could "decide on a crude oil export ban" outside the United States.

But the expert points out that "this would penalize European and Asian allies". However, the American president, on the contrary, needs to take care of his partners to deal with Russia and China.

In the immediate future, Joe Biden is reduced to expressing his frustration, and calling on companies to curb prices at the pump.

The 79-year-old Democrat knows that a rise in gas prices a month before the midterm legislative elections would undermine the chances of his party, which so far hopes to retain control of at least one of the two chambers. of Congress, the Senate.

Joe Biden and more generally the Democrats have recently been carried in the polls by concerns in the United States about the right to abortion. But the return to the campaign of economic concerns would potentially do business for the Republican camp.

A political puzzle, the major OPEC cut is also a diplomatic snub for Joe Biden.

The American president had traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in July for an official visit which notably saw him exchange a "fist bump", a familiar greeting fist to fist, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and participate in a summit with many Arab leaders.

The White House assures that this trip, strongly criticized by human rights activists, had nothing to do with oil.

Joe Biden had however affirmed on the spot to have had "a good discussion" with the Saudis on the need for "an oil supply adapted to support world economic growth".

"I'm one of those who thought the president's trip to Saudi Arabia went well. OPEC's decision tells me I was wrong. The Saudis made it clear they didn't care about their relationship with Biden,” political scientist David Rothkopf tweeted.

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