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White House Cheers Middle East Oil Production Despite Attacks On US Drilling

The White House applauded Middle Eastern nations’ decision to boost oil output Thursday amid the administration’s war on domestic fossil fuel production.

The Middle Eastern oil cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to boost production more than expected by 648,000 barrels a day in July and August, the group announced following a ministerial meeting Thursday. OPEC+ has repeatedly rejected requests from the U.S. and other western nations to increase drilling amid the pandemic recovery and current energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The United States welcomes the important decision from OPEC+ today to increase supply by more than 200,000 barrels per day in July and August based on new market conditions,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “This announcement accelerates the end of the current quota arrangement that has been in place since July of last year and brings forward the monthly production increase that was previously planned to take place in September.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has launched a series of attacks on domestic oil and gas production even as it has begged foreign producers to increase output. The Department of the Interior canceled all remaining offshore lease sales last month and, in April, introduced tight restrictions on the federal onshore leasing program.

“We recognize the role of Saudi Arabia as the chair of OPEC+ and its largest producer in achieving this consensus amongst the group members,” Jean-Pierre continued. “We also recognize efforts and positive contributions of UAE, Kuwait, and Iraq. The United States will continue to use all tools at our disposal to address energy prices pressures.”

Senior administration officials have made several diplomatic trips to the Middle East over the last few months urging the cartel to boost output to curb surging oil prices worldwide, The Wall Street Journal reported. The decision also comes as President Joe Biden reportedly plans to make a visit to Saudi Arabia, a key OPEC member, and hold talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In addition, OPEC+’s planned output boost will likely be lower than expected since it is equally divided among member nations, including those that can’t meet their quota, according to Bloomberg reporter Annmarie Hordern.

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