King empire

Biden, Saudi king discuss energy supply, Iran and Yemen

“Both leaders are committed to ensuring the stability of the global energy supply,” the White House said in a statement.

Salman, head of the biggest crude exporter in the OPEC oil production group, spoke about maintaining balance and stability in oil markets, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

He stressed the need to maintain the supply agreement that OPEC has with its allies, including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.

Last week, OPEC+ agreed to stick to moderate increases in its oil output, as the group struggled to meet existing targets and wary of responding to calls on its stretched capacity for more crude from main consumers to limit the rise in prices.

Global crude prices, which have risen about 20% this year, are expected to top $100 a barrel due to a weaker-than-expected impact on demand for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, analysts said.

International Brent oil stood up nearly 1% on Wednesday at $91.55 a barrel.

High oil prices are a risk for the Biden administration ahead of November’s congressional elections in which fellow Democrats will defend narrow majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Last year, the administration tried to lower oil prices by arranging an emergency oil reserve drawdown in concert with major consumers in Asia, including China, but prices only cooled temporarily.

A US source familiar with the call said, “Saudi Arabia has always played a vital role in ensuring that global energy markets are well supplied to support strong and resilient economies.

“The president noted that this is especially important now, in this time of geopolitical instability and global recovery,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Oil was also supported by tension in Ukraine, with Russia having deployed more than 100,000 troops to its borders.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this week that the administration was coordinating with allies and partners, including on “how best to share energy reserves in the event that Russia turns off the tap or triggers a conflict that disrupts the flow of gas through Ukraine”. ”.

It was an apparent reference to the potential for oil and natural gas cuts following any invasion by Moscow.

The White House said that during the call, Biden also reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia in its defense against attacks by the Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen, the House said. White.

Biden also briefed Salman on international talks to “restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program,” the White House said.

The conflict in Yemen is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who overthrew the government in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

Salman told Biden that Saudi Arabia wanted there to be a “political resolution” in Yemen, SPA said.

Biden’s latest call with Salman came about a year ago, when a US assessment was released that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s son, had approved an operation to capture or to kill murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh, Nayera Abdallah and Yomna Ehab, Timothy Gardner and Steve Holland; Editing by Grant McCool)