Biden is disappointed in Saudi’s oil output cut but doesn’t regret trip

(Bloomberg) — U.S. President Joe Biden said he’s disappointed by the surprise OPEC+ decision to slash oil production but that he doesn’t regret a trip to Saudi Arabia just three months ago in which he urged its leaders to keep crude flowing.

“Disappointment. And we’re looking at what alternatives we may have,” Biden told reporters at the White House when he was asked his reaction to the cut. He said no decision has been made yet on how to respond to the OPEC+ move.

“There’s a lot of alternatives. We haven’t made up our mind yet,” said Biden.

He added that he didn’t regret his trip to OPEC+ leader Saudi Arabia in July because the visit wasn’t about oil.

OPEC+ on Wednesday announced plans to slash output by 2 million barrels. The actual supply cut is expected to be smaller because several OPEC+ nations were producing below their quotas. 

The decision hasn’t had as significant an effect on prices as the White House expected, top Biden energy adviser Amos Hochstein said earlier on Thursday. He said in a brief interview with Bloomberg News that he didn’t know how the administration may respond, including whether the White House would back legislation allowing the US to sue OPEC+ for manipulating markets or take other aggressive measures.

West Texas Intermediate was trading near $88 per barrel on Thursday morning after jumping 10% over the previous three sessions.

The OPEC+ move, which the U.S. unsuccessfully tried to stave off, drew swift condemnation from the White House. Biden has sought more production from Saudi Arabia and other oil producers as he seeks to battle energy-driven inflation that could doom Democrats in the November midterm elections.

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