Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman criticized Washington’s decision (without naming it) to withdraw millions of barrels from its strategic reserves, calling it “market manipulation.”
“People are depleting their strategic reserves, depleting them, using them as a tool to manipulate the markets, while the main goal was to alleviate the supply shortage,” the Saudi energy minister said.
The prince, son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, added: “But it is my duty to let the world know that the loss of the strategic reserve could be painful in the coming months.”
The prince did not explicitly mention the United States during his speech, but it came less than a week after US President Joe Biden decided to withdraw an additional 15 million barrels of oil from his strategic reserves in an attempt to drive down the price of black gold.
The amount that will be pumped into the market in December is the last tranche of the 180 million barrel pump program announced by the US president in the spring to counter the rise in oil prices associated with the Ukrainian crisis.
The announcements also came after the OPEC Plus alliance announced a significant reduction in production quotas by two million barrels per day starting in November.
The White House considered the decision of the Saudi-led oil cartel to join Russia.