OPEC Alliance Agrees to Boost Oil Production

Move by group that includes Russia may bring modest relief to sky-high prices
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2022 10:50 AM CDT
OPEC 'Plus' Agrees to Pump More Oil
Fuel trucks line up in front of storage tanks at the North Jeddah bulk plant, an Aramco oil facility, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

The OPEC oil cartel and allied countries including Russia will raise production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, offering modest relief for a global economy suffering from soaring energy prices and inflation. The decision Thursday steps up the pace by the alliance, known as OPEC Plus, in restoring cuts made during the worst of the pandemic recession, per the AP. The group had been adding a steady 432,000 barrels per day each month to gradually restore production cuts from 2020. The move to increase production faster than planned comes as rising crude prices have pushed gasoline to a record high in the US. There are fears that elevated energy prices could slow the global economy as it emerges from the pandemic.

OPEC, whose de facto leader is Saudi Arabia, has resisted pleas from the White House to increase oil supply to make up for production lost due to sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. That, along with a European Union agreement to end most oil imports from Russia, has pushed prices higher. Gasoline and diesel prices have also been rising due to a lack of refining capacity to turn crude into motor fuel. In the US, crude prices are up 54% since the beginning of the year and gasoline prices are being pulled along. The US saw a record high average gasoline pump price on Thursday of $4.71 per gallon, according to AAA.

The price of crude makes up about half the price of gasoline at the pump in the US, and prices could go even higher as the summer driving season gets underway. High gas prices for drivers are a potential factor in US politics with midterm congressional elections approaching later this year. OPEC Plus decisions have been complicated by the group's failure to meet its production targets due to underinvestment and other roadblocks in some member countries. Actual production has lagged behind the scheduled increases.

(More OPEC stories.)

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