The Trump administration has asked an international oil cartel to increase oil production by roughly 1 million barrels a day, Bloomberg reported.
The federal government reached out to Saudi Arabia and several other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after gas prices spiked and the U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the oil cartel for high fuel prices in a tweet April 20.
“Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted,” he wrote.
Several OPEC officials discussed raising production at a meeting over the weekend, agreeing to “ensure stable oil supplies are made available in a timely manner to meet growing demand and offset declines in some parts of the world,” according to Bloomberg.
Asking OPEC to increase oil production is not unprecedented.
Former President Ronald Reagan may have made a similar request to Saudi Arabia to undercut the economy of the then-Soviet Union, which was based almost solely on petroleum exports, according to political commentator Michael Reagan.
Trump’s request is likely due to high domestic gas prices, for which OPEC is partly responsible.
OPEC partnered with several countries outside the organization, such as Russia, two years ago to cut petroleum production in order to deal with a global oil glut.
The strategy was largely successful, and the per barrel price of oil rose from $35 in January 2016 to a three-year high of more than $74 in April 2018.
Saudi Arabia and Russia proposed increasing OPEC oil production last month, though the motion has yet to be voted on by other members of the cartel and countries in the wider agreement to cut oil production, Bloomberg reported.
Other factors affecting U.S. gas prices are sanctions on Iran that were replaced after Trump exited the Iran Deal, economic instability in Venezuela, environmental regulations and rising demand.
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