The United States is not expecting Saudi Arabia to immediately boost oil production and is eyeing the outcome of the next OPEC+ meeting on Aug. 3, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday.
The comments come hours before U.S. President Joe Biden is set to land in Jeddah on a trip that is designed to reset the U.S. relationship with the kingdom and during which energy supply, human rights and security cooperation are on the agenda.
Saudi Arabia, alongside the United Arab Emirates, holds the bulk of spare capacity within the OPEC+ group, an alliance between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)and other exporters most notably Russia.
But the kingdom has repeatedly indicated it would not act unilaterally.
“Saudi Arabia prefers to manage the market through the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers (OPEC+), not through unilateral moves,” Ben Cahill, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in a recent analyst note.
“Saudi energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman has consistently emphasized the importance of OPEC+ cohesion, including a central role for Russia,” he said.
The U.S. is eager to see Saudi Arabia and its OPEC partners pump more oil to help bring down the high cost of gasoline and ease the highest U.S. inflation in four decades.
Biden said recently that he would not ask Saudi leaders directly to increase oil production. Instead, he would continue to make the case that all Gulf states should raise oil output, he said.
OPEC+ decided last month to increase output targets by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August, ending record production cuts that it brought at the height of the pandemic to counter collapsing demand.