Jul 27, 2022 - World

Biden adviser: Saudi Arabia and UAE have "more to give" on oil production

UAE's President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman  in Jeddah on July 16.
UAE's President Mohammed bin Zayed (left) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on July 16. Photo: UAE Presidential Affairs Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk told a group of think tank experts last week that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are capable of increasing oil production even more, according to the three U.S. sources who were on the call.

Why it matters: Urging Gulf countries to increase oil production was one of the goals of Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia.

Behind the scenes: During the briefing, McGurk said oil prices have already gone down after Saudi Arabia, as the leader of OPEC+, took initial steps to increase production several weeks ago, the sources said.

  • McGurk added that the Saudis and the Emiratis “have more to give” when it comes to oil production.

Yes, but: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during the summit of Arab leaders and Biden earlier this month that the kingdom "will not have any additional capacity to increase production" after its announced increase to 13 million barrels per day.

  • The White House declined to comment.

Between the lines: The Biden administration believes decreasing oil prices will help increase the pressure on Russia over Ukraine.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed oil production with MBS last week, according to the Kremlin.

The big picture: McGurk also told the think tank group that the White House sees Biden’s trip to the Middle East as “very successful," the sources said.

  • The sources added that when asked about the fist-bump between Biden and MBS and the criticism over it, he said: “We work on the meetings, not the greetings."
  • According to the sources, McGurk said Biden told his senior aides on the way back home from the Middle East that the challenge is to the follow up and sustain the momentum formed during the trip.

What’s next: The White House hopes OPEC and its allied producers will increase oil production even more at their scheduled Aug. 3 meeting.

  • According to the three sources, McGurk called the upcoming OPEC+ gathering “crucial."
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