As gas prices soar, Biden’s bent-knee tour of OPEC nations continues

During the election campaign, President Joe Biden said he would make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) an international pariah for the brutal murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Like the campaign proclamations of so many candidates, however, Biden’s promise has proven futile. Indeed, instead of bringing the crown prince to his knees, it was Biden who got down on one knee to plead for Saudi aid in the face of high oil prices.

Biden is once again planning a visit to the Saudi capital of Riyadh to plead with the OPEC cartel boss for more oil.

The July trip is the latest example of how the energy crisis has led the Biden administration astray on foreign policy.

With consumers paying an average of $5 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and truckers paying nearly $6 a gallon for diesel, Biden is desperate to cut prices that are contributing to runaway inflation, which is reaching now a 40-year high of 8.6%. .

Comments from White House staff suggest Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia in mid-July, including a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, which seemed impossible in the 2020 presidential election.

Biden pledged to reduce the United States’ reliance on Saudi Arabia, the so-called “central banker” of global oil markets, and made the relaunch of the nuclear deal with the Iran – Riyadh’s sworn enemy – a top priority.

The best laid plans of mice and men, as they say.

A nuclear deal with Iran that eases US sanctions could boost global oil supplies by 2 million barrels a day, helping to reverse the current shortage.

However, reconciliation with Iran has never been popular with American voters, which is why former President Donald Trump torpedoed the original Iran deal. Biden’s attempts to resurrect him have failed, and officials in Washington and Tehran are pessimistic that will happen.

Without those extra Iranian barrels, Biden has few options for reining in energy prices. He is desperate, having already tapped the United States’ strategic oil reserve at unprecedented rates, only to see crude prices soar above $120 a barrel.

Rather than call a truce with domestic producers, Biden remains committed to his party’s ambitious — some would say unrealistic — climate agenda.

This means the pursuit of unfounded accusations of “price pricing”, threats to tax “windfall profits”, termination of federal oil and natural gas leases, blocking the construction of pipelines and the imposition of stringent climate-related disclosure requirements for oil and gas companies.

No wonder producers are hesitant to increase their investment in US fields.

What is puzzling is why Biden considers foreign oil better than US oil? US environmental regulations are much stricter than those of any OPEC member country. The lifetime emissions of U.S. oil and natural gas are far lower than those of almost any other producing country in the world.

And it’s not just Saudi Arabia that the White House is bowing to for more oil.

President Biden has eased sanctions on Venezuela, allowing European oil companies operating in the South American country to export more oil. The move empowers Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a brutal dictator whom the Trump administration has slapped with harsh sanctions to encourage regime change.

What kind of message is Biden sending to the world?

Climate advocates and progressive Democrat voters should understand that Venezuela’s heavy sour crude oil, a grade also called “tar sands” because of its tar-like viscosity and high sulfur content, has the one of the highest carbon intensities in the world.

Soaring gasoline prices have Democrats so worried that Biden will likely turn a blind eye to the sale of sanctioned Iranian oil. Iranian oil is only a few notches above Venezuela in terms of carbon intensity.

But Biden may think carbon emitted outside the United States is not contributing to climate change. You know, out of sight, out of mind. What the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can’t see won’t hurt you.

Unfortunately, climate science doesn’t work that way.

Meanwhile, much of the United States’ oil production is made up of light, sweet crude that produces less pollution and is more climate-friendly than barrels from Iran or Venezuela. U.S. shale oil is also a “short-cycle” supply, meaning production can be ramped up relatively quickly depending on market conditions. In other words, it’s perfect for dealing with supply shortages like the current crisis – pump more now, cut production when prices drop.

Too bad Biden can’t bring himself to commit to American energy security and boost domestic production. He can now openly call on American producers to increase their investment in new offerings. However, his policies send the opposite message, and he still can’t help blaming the oil industry for the high prices in his public comments.

This is energy policy at the height of its dysfunctions.

Energy security – the availability and abundance of affordable supplies – should be this administration’s top priority. Biden should coordinate with energy CEOs to maximize US supply in the most environmentally friendly way possible. It’s a conversation the oil industry would welcome, especially as investors are already forcing oil companies to meet higher environmental standards as the ESG movement intensifies in financial markets.

But Biden’s relationship with the US oil industry appears to be broken for good. And Biden is poised to sacrifice long-term US foreign policy goals for a temporary reprieve from high consumer gasoline prices.

The current energy crisis could have been avoided – if only the president had matched the world’s largest oil and gas industry in his own backyard.

Instead, America is back to begging dictators for leftover energy. Everyone guesses what we’ll have to give up to get it.

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Post expires at 11:42pm on Saturday June 25th, 2022