White House Ready To Deploy "Tools" For Oil Price Control

The Biden administration stands ready to deploy its tools to address the latest increase in oil prices, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council said this week.

"We continue to work with producer and consumer countries and these steps have had real effects on prices and ultimately tools continue to remain on the table for us to address prices," Emily Horne said, as quoted by Reuters.

"We will continue to monitor prices in the context of global economic growth and engage our OPEC+ partners, as appropriate." Horne also said.

Last year, President Biden called on OPEC to increase production in response to rising crude prices, but the cartel declined. A harder stance followed, in which the White House said OPEC and Russia were contributing to higher bills for the American working class and again insisted that the extended oil cartel boost production by more than its originally agreed 400,000 bpd monthly.

"I do think that the idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil so people can have gasoline to get to and from work, for example, is not, is not, right," President Biden said in November.

"Gas prices, of course, are based on a global oil market. That oil market is controlled by a cartel. That cartel is Opec," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in November. "So that cartel has more say about what is going on."

The next tool the White House employed when all else failed was the decision to release up to 50 million barrels of crude from the strategic petroleum reserve—a move many analysts said would not have much of an impact on prices. Part of the amount has already been released.

OPEC and its partners, meanwhile, are facing an uphill battle to boost production even as much as necessary to fulfill their current quotas. Only a few OPEC members, notably Saudi Arabia, have the spare capacity to boost production much further, while others, including Russia, are having trouble with increasing crude production. This trouble is one of the reasons for the latest oil price rally, according to analysts.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com