Since his election in 2020, President Biden hasn't spoken with Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler directly, connecting only with his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. It's not clear whether that might change any time in the near future, but what is clear, according to sources who spoke to Axios, is that Biden's advisers are considering a presidential trip to Saudi Arabia this spring. Hans Nichols writes that any such trip "would illustrate the gravity of the global energy crisis driven by Russia's invasion of Ukraine," with Biden's aim likely being to smooth things over between the US and Saudi Arabia and convince the latter to boost its oil production.
A White House spokesperson called the report "premature speculation." But the Russia-Ukraine crisis does have US officials scrambling when it comes to oil, with the possibility of sanctions on Russian oil or even a complete ban—which would elevate gas prices even further—looming. Some politicians have suggested Venezuela's oil could replace Russia's, and administration officials were in that country this weekend meeting with President Nicolás Maduro's government. Sources tell Reuters, however, that talks on the possibility of easing oil sanctions on Venezuela didn't get very far. Venezuela is one of Russia's closest allies in Latin America. News of the possible Saudi Arabia visit comes as the average price of a gallon of gas in the US went above $4 for the first time since 2008. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)