Biden met with Saudi officials on a recent trip to the Middle East, where he did not manage to secure a pledge to ramp up oil production, something his administration has been pushing for in a bid to cool soaring gasoline prices.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), a fossil fuel industry group, said in a statement Monday that rather than pleading with foreign suppliers, Biden should instead focus his attention on U.S. oil and gas producers.
“That’s where America’s energy security will come from—not from begging others around the world to supply it,” API said.
‘Start Loosening the Taps Here’
Despite returning from his Middle Eastern trip without a firm pledge from the Saudis, Biden has hinted more oil would flow from the region.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan downplayed the lack of a Saudi commitment to pump more crude, saying production boosts would come via OPEC+.
“I don’t think you should expect a particular announcement here bilaterally because we believe any further action taken to ensure that there is sufficient energy to protect the health of the global economy, it will be done in the context of OPEC+,” Sullivan said last week.
Mike Sommers, president and CEO of API, said in a statement following Biden’s trip that “unfortunately” the president was unable to secure any more oil from Saudi Arabia and he should instead talk to oil producers in Texas.
“Those of us at the American Petroleum Institute would like him now to make a visit to the prolific Permian basin in Midland, Texas, and ask some of the producers here in the United States to start loosening the taps here as well,” Sommers said.
The White House has not returned a request for comment.
In a mid-June letter to Biden (pdf), Sommers laid out the industry’s “10 in 2022” action plan to help address America’s energy challenges, including by ramping up domestic production, while highlighting the links between energy security and national security.
Biden’s trip to the Middle East came amid concerns about surging inflation, a big part of which is being fueled by high energy prices.
Despite calls for Biden to focus on boosting domestic fossil fuel production in a bid to ease inflationary pressures, there is little-to-no indication that his administration will relax some of its policies that are discouraging the oil and gas industry.
Republicans have criticized Biden for signing numerous executive orders, including axing the Keystone XL pipeline, freezing new federal drilling leases, and doing away with some fossil fuel subsidies.
At the same time, Biden last month frequently criticized oil corporations and alleged, while providing little evidence, that they are price-gouging consumers at the pump.
There is also speculation that Biden might declare a “climate emergency” in a bit to salvage his climate agenda after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) refused to back a sprawling Democrat economic package that includes billions in spending on fighting global warming.