Oil Industry Exec: OPEC+ Production Cut Is 'Really Bad news for American Consumers'

Susan Jones | October 5, 2022 | 10:57am EDT
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Here we go again: Gas prices are rising as OPEC+ cuts production. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)
Here we go again: Gas prices are rising as OPEC+ cuts production. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)

(CNSNews.com) - News that OPEC+ has cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day is "really bad news for American consumers," an oil industry executive told Fox News on Wednesday.

"Well, no one should be cheering this news," said Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute. "But the truth of the matter is that dependency on foreign countries for American oil and gas is a choice. And it's a choice this administration has made repeatedly, unfortunately, with the policies that they have pursued so far."

News of the OPEC production cut comes just as record releases from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- ordered by President Biden -- have stopped.

On November 23, 2021 -- three months before Russia invaded Ukraine -- Biden announced that he would release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower "elevated gas prices at the pump" and home-heating bills.

Then, on March 31, 2022, Biden announced that he was authorizing the release of 1 million barrels of oil a day -- over 180 million barrels -- from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"This is a wartime bridge to increase oil supply until production ramps up later this year," Biden said at the time. "And it is by far the largest release from our national reserve in our history. It will provide a historic amount of supply for a historic amount of time — a six-month bridge to the fall."

Sommers said the United States should be "very concerned" about today's announcement from OPEC+, which includes 13 oil-rich nations plus non-OPEC oil-exporters, such as Russia and Mexico.

"But the answer lies here at home. We have the resources here in the United States to develop right now," Sommers said:

"And unfortunately this administration right now is actually talking about stopping development in the Gulf of Mexico. They're not putting forward a new plan to do that. We're advancing policies that are going to develop these resources for American consumers. But again, dependency on OPEC and other foreign countries for our energy is a choice. And policymakers can reverse that choice if we do the right things.

Sommers told Fox News, "We should be looking under our feet for the resources that we have here. We can produce these products here. We can share these products throughout the world during a time of war. We have that choice. And we can do it."

Host Bill Hemmer asked Sommers if clean energy advocates might cheer higher gasoline prices if it advances their renewable energy cause:

"Well, unfortunately, that would be a tragedy if that's the way they're thinking about this," Sommers said:

"The people most harmed by high gas prices are those that are at the lowest rungs of the poverty scale. We need to have a stable energy sources, stable energy sources that are from the United States to ensure that we have reliable and affordable energy here at home.

"Unfortunately right now, the United States is about a million barrels of production down from where we were in 2019. That was a choice. There are policies that are being made right now in Washington that are undermining American energy leadership.

"We can reverse those policies, and API has a plan to do that. And we're working with lawmakers right now, like-minded lawmakers who want to advance those policies and reverse some of the policies that are being put forward by this administration."

The chart below shows how President Biden has drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve since taking office:

Weekly U.S. Ending Stocks of Crude Oil in SPR (Source: U.S. Energy Information Agency)
Weekly U.S. Ending Stocks of Crude Oil in SPR (Source: U.S. Energy Information Agency)
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