Oil production cuts: Biden announces consequences

US President Joe Biden has announced consequences following last week's decision by oil cartel Opec and its allies including Russia (Opec+), to cut oil production from November. Among other potential steps he has announced that the US will "re-evaluate" its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh's behaviour is a clear betrayal, commentators say, welcoming the announcement.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Harsh reaction needed

Biden is right to punish Riyadh, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“In view of rising oil prices he swallowed his pride in July and travelled to Jeddah to persuade the crown prince to increase oil production. ... So his anger is all the greater now that Saudi Arabia is doing exactly the opposite of what he asked it to do - and not only just a few weeks before the key midterm elections in the US but also in the middle of the conflict with Russia. Higher oil prices will add billions to Russia's coffers for it to use in its war against Ukraine. ... It's time for Biden to send a clear signal that any further support for Saudi Arabia is tied to clear conditions. Suspending arms deliveries would be a first step.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Major embarrassment for the US President

Joe Biden has been double-crossed after bending over backwards to maintain good relations with Riyadh, Večernji list comments:

“The situation can be described as Mohammed bin Salman having stabbed Biden in the back. Especially bearing in mind that Biden visited the bloodthirsty heir to the throne in Jeddah only last July. With this meeting Biden gave legitimacy to Bin Salman and went back on his own word, because during the election campaign he had threatened to severely punish the latter for the horrific liquidation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, and make the state a 'pariah'.”

The Guardian (GB) /

A wake-up call

The entire West should review its relationship with Saudi Arabia in light of the decision to cut oil production, The Guardian urges:

“The move ... set the Saudis and fellow cartel members against the US and energy-hungry Europe, and on the side of the Russians . ... Saudi Arabia's on-off war in Yemen, and the US and British arms sales that have facilitated it, would be a good starting point for any reassessment. Redoubled attempts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, which the Saudis distrust, might help bring imperious Riyadh down to earth.”

Strana (UA) /

New situation plays into Moscow's hands

The move partially undermines the EU's sanctions, Strana points out:

“The EU embargo against oil imports from Russia takes effect in December. ... In other words Russia will now largely 'offset' the cessation of deliveries to Europe against its quota for the production cut, so that it can export oil to other countries in almost the same quantity and at a high price. ... This also significantly increases the cost to the West of solving the problem of replacing Russian oil with energy from other sources.”

The Economist (GB) /

A snub to Biden

The cut in production is a tricky move that is unlikely to go down well in the West, The Economist says:

“Opec+'s market share is yet to recover from huge cuts it made in 2020 to shore up prices amid a collapse in demand. Trimming production again may further erode the cartel's market share. The cut is also a snub to President Joe Biden, who recently visited Saudi Arabia in an attempt to cajole it into pumping more, before tough midterm elections next month.”