Economy & Politico

S. Arabia claims US requested one-month delay to oil cut

In its first remarks since the US president warned on Tuesday of consequences over the production cut, the Saudi foreign ministry said it rejected the overture and pressed on with the reduction, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Washington has not confirmed it made any such request.

The Saudi foreign ministry statement clearly implied that the US had made the request for a one-month delay, although it didn’t specifically mention the 8 November elections in which Joe Biden wants to maintain a tight Democratic majority in Congress. The price of petrol has been a key issue in the run-up to the vote.

“The government of the kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US administration that all economic analysis indicates that postponing the Opec+ decision by a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” the statement read.

The claim underscores the political sensitivity in the Biden administration surrounding the cut to supply, which has been read as a serious slight to an important relationship on the one hand, and a boost to Vladimir Putin on the other.

Saudi Arabia has denied that the decision was taken unilaterally and said other Opec members were all in support. However, senior Democrats insist that political considerations were behind the move and that US concerns were dismissed by an ally willing to dilute a long-standing relationship, potentially in favour of the Russian president.

The rift is the most serious between the US and Saudi Arabia in decades and is poised to shred a long-standing pact that guarantees energy supply in return for the US supporting the kingdom’s security.



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