The upcoming OPEC meeting on June 22 is shaping up to be a contentious one, after news broke that the U.S. government asked Saudi Arabia to increase oil production before Washington pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Earlier last week, news surfaced that the U.S. government asked Saudi Arabia to boost output to relieve pressure on prices. But Reuters followed up with a report on June 7, adding more context to that story. According to Reuters, a high level Trump administration official called Saudi Arabia a day before Trump was set to announce the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, asking for more oil supply to cover for disruptions from Iran.
The last time the U.S. government pressured OPEC into adding supply, it was also over Iran. The Obama administration wanted the cartel to offset disrupted Iranian production, after an international coalition put stringent sanctions on Iran in 2012. Roughly 1 million barrels per day were knocked offline.
While the Trump administration’s request might irk OPEC members, with Iran obviously the most aggrieved, the apparent willingness of Saudi Arabia to comply with Washington’s request has ignited furor from within the group.
“It’s crazy and astonishing to see instruction coming from Washington to Saudi to act and replace a shortfall of Iran’s export due to their Illegal sanction on Iran and Venezuela,” Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in comments to Reuters. He said that OPEC would not simply comply with Washington’s requests. “No one in OPEC will act against two of its founder members,” he said, referring to Iran and Venezuela. “The U.S. tried it last time against Iran, but oil prices got to $140 a barrel.”
“OPEC will not accept such a humiliation. How arrogant and ignorant one could be (to) underestimate the history of 60 years’ cooperation among competitors,” he said.
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