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Biden aims to secure Saudi oil supplies before his visit

The meeting is aimed at reaching a series of common ground on a range of political and economic issues, including increased oil production
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PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   Mohamed bin Salman and Joe Biden

Saudi Arabia and the United States meet. Riyadh is preparing to host US President Joe Biden, coinciding with the recent visit of Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman to Washington. During this visit, the deputy minister held a series of meetings with a number of senior US officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

The visit was one of Salman's longest in the US, and it was reported that the main objectives of the visit were to reach agreements on oil supplies, as well as talks that would have included the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

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AFP PHOTO / HO /ARAMCO  -  Oil and gas facilities, Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia

In this sense, the oil issue is one of the issues that most concerns the Biden administration as it tries to isolate Russia since it decided to invade Ukraine at the end of February, an operation that continues today in the face of resistance from the Ukrainian army and international aid.

Observers point to the fact that the White House delegation is currently in Riyadh as a response to the US need for a significant increase in oil production. US sources also indicate that Biden is preparing to travel to Saudi Arabia at the end of June as part of his Middle East trip.

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PHOTO/REUTERS  -  OPEC logo

They also claim that Biden is trying to obtain pledges from Prince Mohammed bin Salman to respond to the US demand for increased production before the visit. 

In an attempt to restore balance to global markets, the US administration is reportedly trying to convince Riyadh of the need to increase its oil production, something it initially refused to do, arguing that "the markets are already well supplied". For the time being, Saudi Arabia has not yielded to US pressure to increase oil production, which has forced the US to draw on its oil reserves.

In this way, Saudi Arabia would be respecting its agreement with Russia within the OPEC+ alliance, despite the boycott that is being attempted at the international level. In fact, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia's position on production will change, since on several occasions the Saudi energy minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman, has reiterated his commitment to "support Russia as a member of OPEC+".

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PHOTO/AFP - Russian President Vladimir Putin

Thus, the Saudis do not contemplate blocking Russia in energy terms, nor does the United Arab Emirates. Both bin Salman and his Emirati counterpart, Suhai Al Mazrouei, point out that OPEC+ cannot be politicised. For bin Salman, "the mission of OPEC+ is to stabilise the market. If we ask any of the members to leave, we will raise prices, which is against what consumers want", thus referring to the US proposal to leave Russia out.

What is clear is that the United States will not cease in its attempts to try to encircle Russia in this supply and thus provoke an increase in oil production by the member countries of the Organisation, which does not include Russia. However, for the moment, it does not seem that Saudi Arabia is going to give in, at least not in a simple way. 

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra