President Biden’s advisors are reportedly considering sending him to Saudi Arabia to push the kingdom to pump more oil as prices soar to over $130 a barrel.
As Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. and the rest of the world have imposed harsh sanctions on Moscow that have driven already-high gas prices to their highest in over a decade.
Biden has so far held off on banning Russian oil imports despite bipartisan pressure to do so. While the U.S. has tried to present a united front with its European allies on sanctions, Biden is considering going it alone with banning Russian oil imports, according to Bloomberg.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the House is considering ‘strong legislation’ to ban Russian oil and energy products. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky implored U.S. lawmakers to do so during a call on Saturday.
Countries from Japan to the United States discussed banning Russian oil imports in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, fueling an 18 percent jump in crude oil on top of a 21 percent surge last week.
President Biden’s advisors are reportedly considering sending him to Saudi Arabia to push the kingdom to pump more oil as prices soar to over $130 a barrel
Biden on the campaign trail in 2019 promised to make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a ‘pariah’ after the CIA said that it believes that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was executed on bin Salman’s orders
U.S. stock index futures slid on Monday, as the prospect of a ban briefly pushed oil above $130 a barrel and added to concerns over spiraling inflation and slowing economic growth. At 8.41am, the Dow was down 214 points, or 0.64 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 0.55 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.61 percent.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude both breached $130 per barrel for the first time since 2008. For every $10 increase in oil, the price of gasoline increases about 20 cents per gallon.
The all-time high for oil was marked in July 2008, when the price per barrel of U.S. crude climbed to $145.29.
The average price of a gallon of gas is up to $4.07, up from $3.61 a week ago.
The U.S. imports about 700,000 barrels of crude oil and petroleum products per day from Russia,
On Sunday Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he discussed banning Russian gas with Biden over the weekend and that the White House was considering the matter with its European allies.
‘We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries while, of course, at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil,’ he said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Germany remains opposed to banning Russian oil, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, calling imports from the country ‘essential’ to the European economy.
Meanwhile, White House officials met this weekend with Venezuela’s corrupt President Nicolás Maduro to talk oil and gas exports.
A trip to Saudi Arabia would force the White House to compromise on its emphasis on human rights as they scramble to divert the U.S. from Russian gas. The potential visit was first reported by Axios.
Biden on the campaign trail in 2019 promised to make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a ‘pariah’ after the CIA said that it believes that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was executed on bin Salman’s orders.
‘Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince,’ Biden said at the time. ‘And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia.’
Meanwhile, the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Maduro and closed its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela in 2019 after accusing the leader of election fraud. The U.S. then enacted harsh sanctions on Venezuela’s oil exports and recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s lawful president.
In response to the sanctions, Venezuela realigned itself with Russia, along with Iran and China.
US officials also believe that Russia’s allies in Latin America could become security threats if the conflict escalates, according to the New York Times. There have been bipartisan calls to have Venezuela step in for Russia’s exports and increase its oil output.
Khashoggi said in an interview for The Atlantic last week that he does not care what Biden thinks about him and said the U.S. president should focus on his own problems.
The crown prince told The Atlantic that he felt his own rights had been violated by the accusations against him in the brutal murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi, who was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
‘I feel that human rights law wasn’t applied to me…Article XI of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that any person is innocent until proven guilty,’ he said.
‘Simply, I do not care,’ the crown prince said when asked by The Atlantic whether Biden misunderstood things about him.
He said it was up to Biden ‘to think about the interests of America’.
‘We don’t have the right to lecture you in America,’ he added. ‘The same goes the other way.’