Trump asks Saudis to up oil output to lower prices

Trump asks Saudi Arabia to increase oil production | TheHill

The White House late Saturday issued a statement backing down from Donald Trump's earlier tweet indicating that he had convinced Saudi Arabia's king to produce as much as 2 million barrels of additional oil a day to bring prices down.

It's not yet clear if the increase with which, according to Trump, Saudi Arabia has agreed is in addition to the amount agreed with OPEC, though as Bloomberg reported this week, the state-run oil company Saudi Aramco plans to increase production starting in July to some 10.8 million barrels per day under pressure from the US.

Brent price on Friday rose $1.54 a barrel to $79.39 on concerns that USA sanctions against Iran would remove a substantial volume of crude from world markets at a time of rising global demand.

Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, stated that the new agreement implies an output increase of one million barrels per day, while other OPEC members indicated an increase of 500,000 to 800,000 bpd.

OPEC agreed with Russian Federation and other oil-producing allies this month to raise output from July by about 1 million bpd.

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That has led Democrats to lay the blame on the White House, highlighting Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal as a factor in the tightening global oil supply.

"This is just simply not doable", said one senior Saudi oil official cited by the Journal.

There was no confirmation that Saudi Arabia would increase oil production, as President Trump said.

The unprecedented supply-cut pact has lifted crude prices from below US$30 a barrel in early 2016 to around US$70. A gallon of regular gasoline sold on average in the U.S. for United States dollars 2.85, up from Dollars 2.23 a gallon past year, according to AAA. That's up about 55 cents from the same period past year, at a time Trump's Republican Party is trying to hold on to its majorities in Congress in the November midterm elections. Iran now exports around 2.4 million barrels a day of crude of which a million barrels or so could be at risk.

"We'll need more oil down the road and there'll be nowhere to get it", said Flynn, of the Price Futures Group.

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Other analysts were more doubtful about immediate effects.

The curbs were meant to help drain a global oil glut, a goal that has largely been achieved, though supply disruptions are now adding pressure to prices.

"The Trump support base is probably the part of the US electorate that will be the most sensitive to an increase in USA gasoline prices", Halff told the Associated Press.

Iran had been pushing hard for oil producers to hold output steady as US sanctions are expected to hit its exports. In Libya, where a dispute over control of key ports has hindered output, the Arabian Gulf Oil Co. on Saturday halted 220,000 barrels a day of production, according to a person familiar with the outage.

Rising oil prices are impacting American prices at the pump. "The president is asking the central bank of oil to make a massive injection of liquidity into the market".

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Iranians across the country have been protesting the nation's crumbling economy and government leadership for months. That said , the U.S.'s move is unlikely to severely impact the national economy, according to experts.

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