French president Emmanuel Macron was caught revealing some bad news to President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit Monday.
Macron told Biden the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, informed him that OPEC’s top oil exporters were already at their production maximum.
“I had a call with MbZ,” Macron told Biden, referring to Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Reuters reported. The comments were overheard by Reuters TV. “He told me two things. I’m at a maximum, maximum [production capacity]. This is what he claims.”
“And then he said [the] Saudis can increase by 150 [thousands barrels per day]. Maybe a little bit more, but they don’t have huge capacities before six months’ time,” the French president reportedly added.
UAE’s top energy official responded to the reports, saying the country is producing “near” its maximum capacity.
“In light of recent media reports, I would like to clarify that the UAE is producing near to our maximum production capacity based on its current OPEC+ production baseline,” Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei tweeted.
Macron’s claims go against official data, and if true, would bring challenges to the global market in light of the boycott on Russian oil in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Bloomberg.
Oil prices have been steadily going up in the past year in part due to increased demand post COVID-19 and a lack of supply caused by restrictions on oil production. The prices were further exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but prices had already risen 55 percent the day before Russian president Vladimir Putin’s orders.
Biden waged a war on domestic energy production upon taking office, including canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, banning new oil and gas leasing on public lands, and stopping the sales of several drilling areas in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Biden is set to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July as a part of his trip to the Middle East. The president previously vowed to make Saudi Arabia a global “pariah” after the suspected killing of Washington Post journalist Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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