OPEC Slashes Production: Dems, Your Wallet Hardest Hit

Tom Finnerty08 Oct, 2022 3 Min Read
Another triumph for the Biden administration.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC+, has agreed to a major cut in oil production. According to CNN, the supercartel -- which includes the 13 member nations of OPEC as well as a loose grouping of ten or eleven other oil producing states like Russia, Mexico, and Kazakhstan -- will slash production by "2 million barrels per day, the biggest cut since the start of the pandemic," a reduction "equivalent to about 2 percent of global oil demand."

Always concerned about the fate of their beloved Democrats, the CNN report makes it a point to mention that this "threatens to push gasoline prices higher just weeks before U.S. midterm elections." No kidding. Of course, for our captured commentariat, the disruption this might cause to their political narrative is a bigger deal than the disruption to people's lives. Gas prices have come down since their summer peak, but they are still outrageously high compared to just a couple of years ago. Americans are already struggling to fuel their cars and handle the soaring price of groceries and other necessities that have been inflated by soaring gas prices.

Still, they're not wrong. Despite some frankly terrible candidate selections on the GOP side, widespread dissatisfaction with Democratic policies have made several midterm races closer than they have any right to be. Oil and gasoline prices trending upwards again, especially just as heating season is getting underway, is likely to tip the balance further to the right.

No wonder Politico reports that Democrats are "seething" at the vote, and are frustrated that the Biden administration's attempts to influence OPEC decision making -- including a presidential visit to Saudi Arabia in July -- were all for naught. While visiting Riyadh, Biden's charm-offensive infamously included a fist-bump for the cameras with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to kick-off their meeting. Maybe he would have gotten better results if Biden hadn't pledged during his presidential campaign to make the Kingdom a "pariah" state. Wanna bet the Crown Prince took exception to those remarks?

Hoping to get out ahead of GOP point-scoring, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), put out a statement saying, “I hope that Republicans will join me in supporting [economic retaliation] rather than wishing high gas prices on the American people so they win an election."

Nice try, but the Democrats are responsible for this mess, and they're going to have to live with the consequences. If they weren't so focused on killing Keystone XL (the original sin of this administration's energy and economic policies); on banning oil and gas leases (and then half-heartedly reintroducing them); on pushing ESG on their big bank cronies at every turn; on backing the closure of U.S. oil refineries, or their conversion into BioFuel processing plants; all while appointing devout Green New Dealers to the cabinet; and generally waging war on the resource sector, we wouldn't be in anything like the mess we're in.

Not to worry though -- the White House is looking to make it all better by releasing 10 million more barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (because that worked so well the last time) while easing sanctions on Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro's oil-rich authoritarian regime. Maybe Glenn Reynolds was right when he said the real issue here is

[Our] domestic oil industry enriches people — and states — Democrats don’t like." Money going to Saudis, Russians or Venezuelans is one thing, but money going to Texans, Oklahomans or South Dakotans is another. Truth is, red states and their inhabitants rank higher on the administration’s enemies list than do shady foreign nations.

One year ago, right here at The Pipeline, this author wrote that, under this administration, "OPEC is back in the driver's seat." Sometimes, you hate to be right.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.

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