Washington [US], October 12 (ANI): After cut in oil production quotas by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, the White House said that US President Joe Biden will now work with Congress to 're-evaluate' relationship with Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with CNN, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said Biden is "willing to work with Congress as we think about what the right relationship with Saudi Arabia needs to be going forward."
"I think the President's been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to reevaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit. And certainly, in light of the OPEC decision, I think that's where he is, and he's willing to work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward," he said.
Biden during his visit to Saudi Arabia in July had expressed optimism that Saudi Arabia would take steps to boost the global oil supply in the coming weeks, which had been viewed as a major goal of the trip given high domestic gas prices globally due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
However, OPEC's decision has now made the White House rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia. OPEC's decision can be viewed in another light as well -- mid-term elections in US. Oil production cuts come on the heels of midterm elections and inflation will be the one thing on top of voters' minds.
Earlier this year, Biden announced a major release of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to alleviate pump prices. On Tuesday, the White House said it was not considering additional releases beyond the 180 million previously announced.
After OPEC+ announcement last Wednesday, a top Democrat Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, said that Saudi Arabia "clearly" wants Russia to win the war in Ukraine and added, "Let's be very candid about this: it is Putin and Saudi Arabia against the United States."
"I think it's time for us to imagine a foreign policy where we do not count on Saudi Arabia," Durbin said terming the decision "as clear a declaration by the Saudis that they are on the other side of history as we can ask for."
Members of OPEC+ said that they would cut November production quotas by two million barrels per day, citing the "uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks".
"We (OPEC+) are here to stay as a moderating force, to bring about stability," Saudi Arabian energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud had said during a news conference.
An OPEC+ memo outlining cuts shows that Saudi Arabia and Russia will make the biggest individual reductions of 19 countries doing so, lowering output by 526,000 monthly barrels apiece.
Shortly after the release of an OPEC+ press release detailing the output cuts, the White House said, "In light of today's action, the Biden Administration will also consult with Congress on additional tools and authorities to reduce OPEC's control over energy prices."
The White House warned that OPEC's move would "have the most negative impact on lower- and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices".
The White House also said that President Biden has directed the Department of Energy to release another 10 million oil barrels from the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve next month, signaling the administration's effort to keep gas prices low with a month until the crucial midterms.
The 45th meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) and the 33rd OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting were held on October 5 in Vienna, Austria. (ANI)