Oil gets a boost: Biden celebrates as OPEC+ agrees to ramp up production
The cartel previously resisted White House calls to pump more crude
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel and its extended group of allied producers known as OPEC+ agreed Thursday to ramp up oil production this summer after months of resistance amid soaring global energy prices.
The group, which includes Russia, said it would boost output by 648,000 per day in July and August, a higher-than-expected increase after previously sticking to a more gradual schedule of increased output agreed to last year following cuts made during the pandemic. The oil-producing nations have been pumping an additional 432,000 barrels of crude for months, up from 400,000.
The Biden administration celebrated the OPEC+ decision. The U.S. has been pushing for OPEC+ to make just such a move as Americans face record-high gasoline prices that are driving inflation.
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"The United States welcomes the important decision from OPEC+ today to increase supply by more than 200,000 barrels per day in July and August based on new market conditions," the White House said in a statement.
"We recognize the role of Saudi Arabia as the chair of OPEC+ and its largest producer in achieving this consensus amongst the group members," the statement continued. "We also recognize efforts and positive contributions of UAE, Kuwait, and Iraq. The United States will continue to use all tools at our disposal to address energy price pressures."
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The Biden administration has sought to ease rising gas prices by releasing a record 180 million barrels from the already-depleted Strategic Petroleum Reserve over six months starting in March, but costs at the pump continue to climb.
The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. hit a fresh record high on Thursday to $4.715, according to AAA.
Oil prices were already climbing in 2021 amid increased demand and reduced supply coming out of the pandemic, and the surge was exacerbated this year by Western sanctions imposed on Russia, a major oil exporter, for its invasion of Ukraine.
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The move from OPEC+ Thursday came after the European Union imposed further sanctions on the Kremlin by agreeing to ban most Russian oil imports.
FOX Business' Megan Henney and the Associated Press contributed to this report.