Trump backs off claim of convicing Saudi Arabia to boost oil production


Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington, DC, said "it is not unusual" for the White House to put pressure on OPEC members to increase oil output "mainly because the United States president is first and foremost concerned about the cost of gasoline and consumer fuels, especially in an election year" - the USA will hold midterm congressional polls in November. Its record is 10.72 million barrels a day.

Trump said on Twitter that he asked Salman to increase oil production "to make up the difference.Prices to high! He has agreed!" read the tweet.

State Department officials said this week the United States is prepared to work with countries on a case-by-case basis to help them reduce imports of Iranian oil.

Kuwait planned to raise oil output by 85,000 barrels per day starting on Sunday, part of an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to increase production by 1 million bpd, its Energy Minister Bakhit al Rashidi said on Saturday.

"This big claim (of cutting Iran oil supply) is not feasible because last month Iran exported 2.8 million barrels of crude oil and condensate per day". That's up about 55 cents from the same period past year, at a time Trump's Republican Party is trying to hold on to its majorities in Congress in the November midterm elections.

"If this happens, (it) means Trump is asking Saudi Arabia to walk (away) from OPEC", he told Reuters news agency. Gen. Mohammed Barkindo (R) and Angola's Governor for OPEC and Chairman of the Board of Governors Estevao Pedro (2nd L) at the 173rd OPEC Conference in Vienna on November 30, 2017.

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The increase, if it can be pulled off, would be an incredibly rapid ramp up in output, up more than 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) from May levels.

"Iran is in a really terrible position right now", said Sara Vakhshouri, head of Washington, D.C. -based consultant SVB Energy International. Added to the losses from Venezuela, is there enough capacity to replace the lost Iranian volume?? Trump made the original request because, he said, oil prices are too high.

Unplanned supply disruptions from Libya to Venezuela have further tightened the market.

Other Indian companies have yet to announce whether or not they are reducing their imports, and Iranian oil manufacturers might be waiting for any developments coming from the country. Total's chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said last month that it was unthinkable for any worldwide company to risk being excluded from the USA financial system - the penalty for buying Iranian crude beyond November 4.

Until then, however, they are buying as much Iranian oil as possible. Turkey stood at 9 percent and Italy at 7 percent.

"We now see these GCC countries increasing their output above their Opec quota levels in the second half of 2018, supporting real GDP growth in their oil sectors", Malik said.