“‘It is my profound duty to make it clear to the world that losing emergency stock may become painful in the months to come.’”
— Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi energy minister
That’s Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, delivering an ominous warning Tuesday.
Without identifying the U.S. or other countries by name, the minister said at a conference in Riyadh that “people are depleting their emergency stocks,” using them to “manipulate markets” despite their stated purpose being to mitigate supply shortages.
President Joe Biden last week announced the release of 15 million barrels of crude from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the final tranche of a 180 million-barrel release announced in March. The U.S. move was coordinated with a number of other large oil-consuming nations in response to surging prices that had taken crude to roughly 14-year highs well above $100 a barrel following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A decision earlier this month by the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, notably Russia, to cut production by 2 million barrels a day in November strained relations between Riyadh and Washington.