Saudi Arabia other members of OPEC are reportedly considering increasing oil production in an apparent response to the Biden administration’s push to grant legal immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
President Biden, who vowed during his 2020 presidential campaign to make the kingdom “pay the price” for human rights abuses and “make them in fact the pariah that they are,” recently endorsed legal immunity for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even though the Saudi ruler notoriously approved the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Biden’s reversal on his campaign promise came as his administration’s crack down on U.S. domestic oil production has led to an increased dependence on foreign oil.
According to The Wall Street Journal, OPEC delegates said a “production increase of up to 500,000 barrels a day is now under discussion for OPEC+’s Dec. 4 meeting… Talk of a production increase has emerged after the Biden administration told a federal court judge that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should have sovereign immunity from a U.S. federal lawsuit related to the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
However, shortly after the report, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman denied the news and said a production cut was being considered instead.
During OPEC’s most recent meeting, the group cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day, the biggest cut since the beginning of the pandemic, which sharply drove up global oil prices. The oil production cut came shortly after President Biden visited Saudi Arabia as part of a failed diplomatic effort to discuss energy production and other matters.
During the visit, Biden greeted the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a fist bump, drawing backlash due to Salman’s human rights violations. Following Biden’s visit, the price of oil rose due to his failure to make a deal with OPEC+.
“The price of oil rose on Monday after the US president, Joe Biden, came away from talks in the Middle East without an agreement on raising supply,” The Guardian reported at the time. “Biden had hoped to secure a promise from Saudi Arabia to increase its output of oil, which could lead to an easing of global supply pressures.”
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