Following mounting pressure and explicit threats from President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia announced it is dramatically increasing its crude oil output.
While speaking to reporters in Moscow, Saudi Arabia energy minister Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday revealed his country is producing 10.7 million barrels of oil a day — a rate that is near the country’s output record set in November 2016. The comments come as officials with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) attend “Russian Energy Week” in Moscow.
“We’re meeting every single demand for barrels,” Al-Falih stated, according to Bloomberg. “We’ve increased production quite significantly. We just have to be responsive to demand.”
Saudi Arabia — the leading member of OPEC and its largest producer of oil — has notably chosen to increase its output after growing frustration from Trump. The president on Tuesday went so far as to threaten the country if it did not fix rising oil prices, suggesting he would stop protecting it.
“We protect Saudi Arabia — would you say they’re rich?” Trump asked a crowd of supporters in Southaven, Mississippi. “And I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.'” (RELATED: OPEC Believes US Shale Boom Won’t Last Long)
It was far from the first time Trump had publicly entertained the idea of pulling U.S. support from Middle Eastern countries. The president has issued several tweets in the past months demanding OPEC bring oil prices down, which have approached $85 a barrel.
We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018
Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 20, 2018
Saudi Arabia and Russia held private discussions in September and mutually agreed to increase production until December. Officials who were part of these talks informed their U.S. counterparts, but they reportedly wanted to keep the deal relatively quiet as to not make it look like they were bowing to Trump’s pressure, according to Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter.
“The Russians and the Saudis agreed to add barrels to the market quietly with a view not to look like they are acting on Trump’s order to pump more,” a source said.
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