Biden's Bizarre Oil Diplomacy - WSJ

Men work at an oil pump in Lagunillas, Ciudad Ojeda, Zulia state, Venezuela, March 18, 2015. ...


Men work at an oil pump in Lagunillas, Ciudad Ojeda, Zulia state, Venezuela, March 18, 2015.


Photo:

stringer/Reuters

President Biden is struggling to contain soaring oil prices, which closed above $123 a barrel on Monday. That says a lot about this administration whose help it is asking

Vladimir Poutinein Venezuela and our distant Saudi allies rather than American shale producers or our Canadian friends.

Press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged on Monday that the administration sent envoys to Caracas to discuss “energy security.” The administration could ease sanctions on Venezuelan oil to replace lost Russian supplies, which buyers are avoiding because of the risk of sanctions.

In early 2019, the Trump administration sanctioned Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA for pressuring the brutal regime of Nicolas Maduro, which has impoverished the country, persecuted political opponents and sent millions of refugees to the region.

But Venezuela continues to pump around 800,000 barrels a day with help from Russia and Iran. The Venezuelan returned the favor by supporting Mr. Putin’s war on Ukraine and denouncing the West’s “economic war” against the Russian people.

Easing Venezuelan sanctions would be a strategic mistake that would provide a financial lifeline to Mr. Maduro while doing little to mitigate the oil price spike. Venezuelan oil companies say they can increase production by several hundred thousand barrels a day in eight months. The war in Ukraine may be over by then.

Axios also reports that the president is considering a personal visit to Saudi Arabia to patch up relations with the crown prince whom Mr Biden pretended to disdain upon taking office. At the same time, the administration is seeking to get closer to Iran, which has supported the Houthis in Yemen in their war against the Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates are the only OPEC members that appear to have spare capacity, but they have pushed back against Mr Biden’s calls to increase supply. One reason is that they don’t want to alienate Mr. Putin, who has become an electricity broker in the Middle East. Mr. Biden should never have alienated the Saudis, but we would be much better off if he simply encouraged American energy production.

Shale producers can increase production twice as fast as Venezuelan oil companies, and the profits would go to American workers and shareholders rather than another dictatorship.

Journal Editorial Report: Will Biden Stand Up to His Party’s Green Lobby? Images: Sputnik/Reuters/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Appeared in the March 8, 2022 print edition.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden's Bizarre Oil Diplomacy - WSJ
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