Trump Sharply Criticizes OPEC Through Tweets

U.S. President Donald Trump aimed harsh criticism at members of OPEC the oil cartel Wednesday saying the group was doing very little to help with high prices of gas in the United States.

In several tweets Trump said that if anything OPEC was driving up the price of gas in the U.S. Adding that this needed to be a two-way street and OPEC must reduce prices now.

In June, OPEC’s member states, which number 15, agreed to pump an additional one million barrels per day of crude, which was a move that is likely to help contain the recent increase in global oil prices. To date, no discernible effect has been seen on gas prices across the U.S.

AAA said the national average for a gallon of gas on Wednesday was $2.85, which is the highest it has been in over four years. However, AAA said that was 11 cents less expensive that the average prices during Memorial Day weekend just over a month ago.

Trump said that during the weekend he had been given assurances from Saudi Arabia King Salman that the kingdom is going to increase its oil production by as much as 2 million barrels daily. Officials in Saudi Arabia confirmed that the call between Trump and Salman took place, but did not mention any production targets.

The White House has pushed its allies to end purchasing oil from Iran following the president’s pull out of the nuclear deal of 2015 in May. Prices have also risen with continued unrest in Venezuela as well as fighting that has hit Libya over who controls the oil infrastructure of the country.

The Trump administration has counted on Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC to supply sufficient enough crude to offset the lost exports from Iran and prevent the oil prices from increasing sharply.

Currently, Saudi Arabia is producing 10 million barrels per day of crude. Its record is 10.72 million per day. Trump’s tweet did not offer any timeframe for the 2 million more barrels per day by Saudi or if it was a per day increase or a per month increase.

The CEO of Saudi Aramco Amin Nasser told reporters on Monday in India that the state run oil company has a spare capacity per day of 2 million barrels. That came after the Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia Khalid al-Falih said that the kingdom would be honoring the decision by OPEC to remain at the increase of 1 million barrels per day.

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