Decision of OPEC+ to cut its oil production target by two million barrels per day was "purely economic" and adopted through consensus, says Saudi Foreign Ministry, after Washington vowed "consequences" for US-Saudi ties.

OPEC+ move has raised worries in US about the possibility of higher gasoline prices right before the November US midterm elections.
OPEC+ move has raised worries in US about the possibility of higher gasoline prices right before the November US midterm elections. (Reuters Archive)

Saudi Arabia has rejected as "not based on facts" statements criticising the kingdom after an OPEC+ decision last week to cut its oil production target despite US objections, saying it serves the interests of both consumers and producers.

The OPEC+ decision was adopted through consensus, took into account the balance of supply and demand and was aimed at curbing market volatility, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement early on Thursday.

President Joe Biden pledged earlier this week that "there will be consequences" for US relations with Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ said last week it would cut its oil production target by two million barrels per day.

OPEC+, the producer group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus allies including Russia, announced its new production target after weeks of lobbying by US officials against such a move.

The United States accused Saudi Arabia of kowtowing to Moscow, which objects to a Western cap on the price of Russian oil in response to its onslaught on Ukraine.

The Saudi statement, quoting an unnamed official, stressed the "purely economic context" of the oil cut.

The statement also referred to consultations with the United States in which it was asked to delay the cuts by a month.

READ MORE: Biden warns of 'consequences' for Saudi Arabia over OPEC+ oil cuts

US-Saudi ties

The OPEC decision was widely seen as a diplomatic slap in the face since Biden travelled to Saudi Arabia in July and met with Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.

The OPEC+ move has raised worries in Washington about the possibility of higher gasoline prices right before the November US midterm elections, with Biden's Democrats trying to retain their control of the House of Representatives and Senate.

"The Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultations with the US administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested would have had negative economic consequences," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia also said it views its relationship with the United States as a "strategic one" and stressed the importance of mutual respect.

The partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia was sealed after World War II, with the US providing the kingdom with military protection in exchange for American access to oil.

Biden said last week that he would look at alternatives to prevent gas price hikes.

READ MORE: Biden mulls OPEC response amid questions over Saudi arms sales

Source: Reuters