The United States believes that OPEC’s Middle Eastern producers have room to boost production and will take “a few more steps” to boost supply to the oil market soon, according to Amos Hochstein, the special presidential coordinator for international energy affairs.
“Based on what we heard on the trip, I’m pretty confident we will see a few more steps in the coming weeks,” Hochstein said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, after U.S. President Joe Biden and his team returned from a trip to the Middle East, where the U.S. officials met with the leaders of the top producers in OPEC—Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, and Kuwait.
“There is additional spare capacity, there is room for increased production,” Hochstein told CBS, without elaborating how much spare capacity those producers have, if they are willing to use it, and when they might achieve a higher production level.
President Biden returned to Washington from the Middle Eastern trip without receiving a specific commitment from the top OPEC producers to boost oil supply to the market in the near term.
President Biden commented on his meetings in Saudi Arabia, “We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth. And that will begin shortly. And I’m doing all I can to increase the supply for the United States of America, which I expect to happen. The Saudis share that urgency, and based on our discussions today, I expect we’ll see further steps in the coming weeks.”
In his Sunday interview with CBS, Hochstein said that he expects the national average gasoline price to continue dropping from around $4.50 a gallon “more towards $4 and we already have many gas stations around the country that are below $4.”
As of July 17, the national average price of gasoline was $4.532 per gallon, down from $5.000 a month ago. Most of the decline over the past month has been due to falling crude oil prices amid recession fears and a decline in U.S. gasoline demand due to the high prices at the pump.