John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, informed reporters on Monday that the Biden administration had expressed its disagreement with OPEC’s unexpected decision to cut oil production when they received an early notice of the move. 

On Sunday, OPEC and its allies, including Russia, announced further production target cuts of about 1.16 million barrels per day (bpd) from May through the rest of the year, causing oil prices to jump over 6% on Monday.

Kirby stated, “We don’t think that production cuts are advisable at this moment, given market uncertainty. And we made that clear.” 

Although U.S. officials were informed of OPEC’s plan to cut oil production before the Sunday announcement that shocked markets, a White House official said they did not know why the decision was made.

“We were given a heads up,” Kirby confirmed. 

When asked about reports linking the cuts to the timing of the United States’ refilling of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Kirby said, “I would just say that I can’t even begin to speculate why this decision was made.”

Kirby sought to downplay any tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia, who pushed for production cuts last fall, which upset the White House and prompted a review of the relationship. He emphasized that while the two countries may not always agree with each other, they maintain a strategic partnership. 

Kirby noted that the global oil prices were currently around $80 per barrel, as opposed to $110 to $120 last year, and the administration would continue to collaborate with producers to ensure growth and lower prices for consumers.

“We’re not always going to agree with everything that Saudi Arabia does or says, any more than they’re always going to agree with everything that we do or say, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a strategic partnership,” Kirby concluded.


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