NBC is confirming based on a senior administration official that President Joe Biden will travel to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in mid-July.
As we detailed earlier, the itinerary is expected to include a prior stop in Israel and the West Bank. In his latest comments Biden attempted to downplay the urgent need to get the Saudis pumping more oil, instead focusing on a hoped-for security arrangement as the Saudis and Israelis have lately moved toward closer cooperation.
“For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.” Luke 12:2
The White House last week reportedly informed Saudi Arabia that it’s willing to ‘move on’ after MbS faced some degree of global isolation due to the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It remains that Biden is “moving on” in hopes the Saudis will finally accede to his longtime demands that the kingdom ramp up oil output while Washington seeks to economically isolate Russia and punish Putin.
But in a Tuesday morning media statement carried by Reuters, OPEC says it sees “considerable risk” for forecast for oil demand recovery to pre-pandemic levels, citing the war in Ukraine, as well as “uncertainty” around the coronavirus pandemic roll-out towards end of the second-half of 2022:
“Looking ahead, current geopolitical developments and the uncertain roll-out of the pandemic toward the end of the second half of the year continue to pose a considerable risk to the forecast recovery to pre-pandemic levels,” OPEC said in the report.
“Inflationary pressures are likely to persist and it remains highly uncertain as to when geopolitical issues may be resolved. Nevertheless, oil demand is forecast at healthy levels in the second half of this year.”
The report expects world consumption to surpass the 100 million bpd mark in the third quarter, in line with earlier projections, and for the 2022 average to reach 100.29 million bpd, just above the pre-pandemic rate in 2019.
It appears that despite OPEC’s small, and in reality largely symbolic attempt to pacify Washington by its modest output hike at its last meeting – which made little overall impact – this latest statement suggests the Saudis are unlikely to risk their current giant profit-taking merely to appease a US president who will press for abnormal output concessions.
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