This picture taken on Dec 11, 2019, shows a view of a refinery at the Jubail Industrial City, about 95 kilometers north of Dammam in Saudi Arabia's eastern province overlooking the Gulf. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
The United States should stop the blame game and instead take a hard look at its own energy policies, analysts say, after Washington threatened to review its relations with Saudi Arabia after Riyadh and other oil producers decided to cut their output.
The experts say Washington should be honest in recognizing the cause of the energy crisis and adopt a strategy that balances a future with green energy, and at the same time, not neglect critical projects to energy security.
“The United States is the world’s top producer of oil, including crude, other petroleum liquids, and biofuels, and has been since 2018. Therefore, it should review its own energy strategy rather than blaming others,” said Anis Khayati, an economics professor at the College of Business Administration at the University of Bahrain.
Washington said it was reviewing its options after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, decided on a 2 million-barrel-a-day reduction on Oct 5
Washington said it was reviewing its options after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, decided on a 2 million-barrel-a-day reduction that was announced on Oct 5.
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On Oct 16, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that US President Joe Biden will act "methodically" in deciding how to respond to Saudi Arabia, and that the options will include changes to US security assistance. Some US lawmakers want to halt all arms sales and military aid to the Arab nation altogether.
The Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have all spoken up in support of Saudi Arabia and its strategy for stabilizing the oil markets.
According to Statista, an online business intelligence portal, the US produced the most oil in the world in 2021, at around 16.6 million barrels of oil per day on average. Saudi Arabia and Russia followed as the second and third largest producers, respectively, and are amongst the top countries with highest oil exports.
A Nasdaq report in March this year noted that the oil and natural gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs in the US and contributed nearly 8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Gokhan Ereli, Gulf Studies coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkiye, said the global energy crisis — triggered by the sanctions imposed on Russia over its conflict with Ukraine — has taken on a brand-new dimension following the decision of the OPEC+ to slash oil production.
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“The US' alternative energy strategies could include realigning its energy relations with Iran and Venezuela, as well as introducing 60 million barrels of oil with a few other economies from strategic reserves into the world market,” Ereli told China Daily.
“But in this instance, neither of the potential answers is a long-term or permanent remedy to the energy crisis,” he said.
Both Iran and Venezuela are under US sanctions. In May, Iran’s oil minister Javad Owji paid an official visit to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolas Maduro to discuss ways to overcome the impact of US sanctions against both nations.
The United Nations has been calling for the lifting of unjust and harmful sanctions that have been hurting Iran and Venezuela. The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct 5 that the US is considering easing sanctions on Venezuela on US conditions.
Rasha Al Joundy, a Gulf expert and senior researcher at the Dubai Public Policy Research Centre in the United Arab Emirates, told China Daily that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members are practical and have “deep experience in studying the energy market”, so it is inconceivable that the group is used for political reasons by an individual member
Rasha Al Joundy, a Gulf expert and senior researcher at the Dubai Public Policy Research Centre in the United Arab Emirates, told China Daily that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members are practical and have “deep experience in studying the energy market”, so it is inconceivable that the group is used for political reasons by an individual member.
She said the US should realize that countries in the Gulf region will not put the security of the oil market or their economic interests aside to promote any political agenda or to interfere with the US midterm election in favor of the democrats by postponing the oil cut by one month.
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“The US administration should be honest to realize the causes of this crisis and deal with the solution properly by putting a strategy that balances a green energy future but at the same-time does not neglect critical projects to energy security,” she added.
Mohammed Alyahya, a fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote in an opinion piece in Wall Street Journal on Oct 13 that “blaming Saudi Arabia, or OPEC+, or Vladimir Putin, for an energy crisis that results from a policy of switching from carbon fuels to “clean energy’ — on the basis of what look like utopian assumptions — is disingenuous”.
He said demonizing Saudi Arabia over the oil output cut amounts to scapegoating amid the US’ own failures in relation to stepping up energy production.
Scapegoating, Alyahya wrote, poisons the democratic process by trying to prevent citizens from properly responding to the results of their own choices.
READ MORE: Oil rebounds as OPEC+ weighs biggest output cut since 2020
“In doing so, politicians short-circuit the self-correcting mechanisms that allow democracy to function. Instead, elected officials make voters endure the negative consequences of bad policy choices by blaming foreign entities for predictable outcomes,” he wrote.
Xinhua contributed to this report