Trump Adminsitration Attempting To Pressure OPEC To Reduce Oil Prices

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Trump Adminsitration Attempting To Pressure OPEC To Reduce Oil Prices

Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press

On September 20th, US President Donald Trump called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to bring down the cost of fuel, claiming that the organization has a monopoly on oil and unilaterally decides on the price of fuel.

“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!” Trump posted on Twitter.

OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia and its biggest oil-producer ally outside the group, Russia said that there would be no immediate, additional increase in crude oil output. They effectively rebuffed Donald Trump’s calls for action.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday he does not influence oil prices, ahead of a meeting of OPEC ministers and allies such as Russia to discuss the situation in the oil markets.

Trump was prompted to call for the reduction in price due to Benchmark Brent oil reaching $80 a barrel this month.

The price rally mainly stemmed from a decline in oil exports from OPEC member Iran due to fresh US sanctions. So, it is reasonable to assume that US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal and the sanctions they reimposed on Iran, are actually the reason behind the increase in oil market, which Trump claims OPEC can fix.

Falih said Saudi Arabia had spare capacity to increase oil output but no such move was needed at the moment. “My information is that the markets are adequately supplied. I don’t know of any refiner in the world who is looking for oil and is not able to get it,” Falih said.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said no immediate output increase was necessary, although he believed a trade war between China and the United States as well as US sanctions on Iran were creating new challenges for oil markets.

After the September 23rd talks between OPEC ministers, Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy and Kuwaiti counterpart Bakhit al-Rashidi told reporters that producers had agreed they needed to focus on reaching 100% compliance with production cuts agreed in June. It effectively means that this attempts to compensate for falling Iranian production, as reported by Reuters. Al-Rumhy said the exact mechanism to offset the loss has not been discussed yet.

As reported by Reuters, Iran, which is OPEC’s third-largest producer, has accused Trump of orchestrating the oil price rally by imposing sanctions on Tehran and accused its regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia of bowing to U.S. pressure. On September 23rd, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Trump’s tweet “was the biggest insult to Washington’s allies in the Middle East”.

Reuters further reported that following a downturn in oil prices in 2016, OPEC, Russia and other allies decided to reduce supply by 1.8 barrels per day. In June 2018, however, they agreed to boost output by returning to 100% compliance, mostly due to involuntary reductions from Venezuela and other producers. That equates to an increase of about 1 million bpd, but the latest figures show they are some way from achieving that target.

Iran claimed its production for August had been steady at 3.8 million barrels per day, however OPEC own estimates, according to secondary sources such as researchers and ship-trackers put Iranian output at 3.58 million barrels per day.

Falih said returning to 100% compliance was the main objective and should be achieved in the next two to three months. He did not specify how that could be achieved, since as reported by Reuters, Saudi Arabia is the only producer with spare capacity.

“We have the consensus that we need to offset reductions and achieve 100 percent compliance, which means we can produce significantly more than we are producing today if there is demand,” Falih said.

“The biggest issue is not with the producing countries, it’s with the refiners, it’s with the demand. We in Saudi Arabia have not seen demand for any additional barrel that we did not produce.”

Trump is attempting to force OPEC to solve issues, which have partially been caused by the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal. A sudden raise in gas prices in the US could affect him negatively in the upcoming November 6th elections.

Apart from Iran, another reason for the increase in oil prices comes from Venezuela. As reported by Bloomberg in an analysis on September 20th, In Venezuale, “falling oil output is both a casualty and contributor in the country’s economic collapse. Trump has reportedly discussed potential military intervention there, which, given the recent history of such ventures, one imagines wouldn’t necessarily stabilize things. And forgive me if you know this already, but Venezuela isn’t in the Middle East.”

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  • Smaug

    For the record; OPEC sets quotas on its members so that oil prices remain consistent. They can deliberately overproduce and make more oil than people need so that supply and demand sets in and brings down the average cost of oil. The reason for Trump’s very public request is that he wants to be able to take credit for any reduction in price, but I agree that OPEC has to much power.

    • Sinbad2

      No they can’t overproduce, the fields are not never ending Tim Tams.
      The Saudis keep increasing the water injection into the fields, but the output continues to fall.
      Why do you think Obama did a deal with Iran Einstein?

      • Smaug

        Drop the hyperbole, and no oil had nothing to do with the nuclear deal. The main squabble that lead to the Gulf War was Kuwait was investing more into new oil drilling sites than it was worth so they could undercut the competition and gain a near monopoly on the trade. This was at odds with Saddam who wanted prices to stay high because he had war debts to pay.

        • Sinbad2

          BS
          Kuwait with the assistance of Chevron, was drilling horizontal wells into Iraq, and stealing Iraqi oil.

          • Ronald

            It’s referred to as “slant drilling”. That’s why Israel was so keen on the jihadists buffer zone along the Golan Heights border. Syria will be able to tap into that oil Most oil strata are 100 feet thick, but the Golan deposit is 1000 feet thick and estimated to cover over 150 sq. miles.

          • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

            Sinbad2 I support you on this statement, they even mention it in the excellent movie “The Devils Double” and i looked into it, finding several confirming sources.

            And Iraq needed every drop of oil to pay for the Iran – Iraq war, so naturally they was pissed and acted on it.

            The West turned a blind eye to the slant drilling, because they got a reduced barrel price for the slant drilled oil, of course without telling anyone, yet demanding top dollar price for it on the consumer market, making billions of “dullars”

  • frankly

    “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!” Trump posted on Twitter.

    Does he mean, the US protects them from ISIS and Al Qaeda? Or from Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah? Yemen? So he sanctions anyone not donating money to the Petro-dollar. Unilaterally withdraws from an agreement with Iran and now he expects them to lower prices or his proxies will attack them on Trump’s orders.

    Well there you have it folks, the reason everyone wants an S-400.

  • Rob

    There is no future of US currency (US Dollar). The future trades and deals between countries will be in 24 Karat Gold. But how to identify that the given Gold bars are 24K or not.

  • Geoff Griffiths

    Not blocking other countries from exporting oil would bring the price down.
    Please remember that Rockefeller created OPEC in the 70s, and also created the ‘peak oil’ price hike a few years ago.

  • Rob

    OPEC should sanction both fake states of US and Israel especially the Trump and Benjanyahu war criminals.

    • occupybacon

      You know that the Internet is made in a “fake state”?

      • Rob

        Internet based on electromagnetic radiation. These radiation can be used for many things not only for internet. The EMR not created by US or UK scientists.

        • occupybacon

          Based on this ‘example’ I can consider Putin a fake president since he’s made of Atoms which are not made in Russia.

  • Jesus

    Suck rocks Trump, US shale oil is of limited use, when you decide to sanction a country that produces oil, always remember about supply and demand.

  • Sinbad2

    The US only did a deal with Iran, because they needed the Iranian oil to keep prices down.

    Trump wants to shut down all Iranian oil exports, which will cause the price to skyrocket.

    Saudi Arabia, the country that does Americas bidding in the oil market, is running out of oil, production is already falling. Even if they manage to steal the oil fields in Yemen, it will take years to bring them online.
    Also the war in Yemen is very expensive, and KSA needs high oil prices.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil/oil-rises-after-opec-sources-say-saudi-crude-output-fell-idUSKBN1KR039

    Trump has killed the USA.