February 8, 2023

White House tells oil industry 'We need more' as fuel prices rise

White House tells oil industry ‘We need more’ as fuel prices rise

The United States is engaged in an increasingly frantic search to make up for lost oil supplies from Russia as it tries to mend diplomatic rifts abroad and boost production at home to prevent fuel prices from spiraling out of control.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Granholm, the US energy secretary, told an audience of industry executives that the country was on a “war footing,” adding: “That means you’re producing more now, where and if you can.”

Her appeal to domestic oil companies to increase supplies is a focus of a Biden administration that has polished its green credentials, highlighting the new post-U.S. political reality this week. Prohibited oil and gas imports from Russia.

In another sign of the turmoil caused by the Russian oil embargo, the United States drew criticism from Colombia, one of its main allies in South America, for appearing to have paved the way for the resumption of crude oil imports from Venezuela.

US diplomats last weekend I travelled to Venezuela – with which Washington cut diplomatic ties in 2019 – in what experts said could lead to an easing of sanctions on the country.

Gasoline prices soared to new records above $4.25 a gallon in the United States, risking political damage to President Joe Biden as congressional elections approach.

Domestic oil production in the United States, which has fallen during the pandemic oil price crash, remains well below historic highs, in part because investors have asked companies to prioritize dividends and cash flow over new drilling campaigns.

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Granholm, speaking at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, appealed to the US oil sector for a new partnership with the federal government. “In this moment of crisis, we need more oil supplies,” she said.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, jumped to $139 a barrel, its highest level since 2008, earlier this week. It fell to $111 on Wednesday after it was partially pressured after the United Arab Emirates He said And OPEC members will encourage OPEC members to increase oil production, the first member of the coalition of producers to do so since Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Subsequently, UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei tweeted that the country was still “committed to the OPEC + agreement and its current mechanism for adjusting monthly production.”

Granholm’s comments came a day after Amos Hochstein, a senior US State Department official, said shale oil producers should do so.Whatever you take – whatever it coststo increase the width.

The US opening to Caracas alarmed Colombian government officials who told the Financial Times that recruiting Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime to supply more oil would be politically problematic and technically impractical.

“It is not for me to judge or justify,” said Ivan Duque, President of Colombia. But nothing will change my opinion about Maduro being a war criminal or the equivalent of Latin America [Slobodan] Milosevic because he treated his country brutally,” he said, referring to the late leader of Serbia.

Duque added that the United States, along with many other Western governments, does not recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela after Washington described the elections in 2018 as fraudulent.

Diego Mesa, Colombia’s Energy Minister, said in a separate interview on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference.