OPEC to slash oil production, potentially raising gas prices

OPEC nations leaders
(Image credit: Vladimir Simicek/AFP via Getty Images)

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said Wednesday it would be slashing its oil production by 2 million barrels per day, a move that could potentially cause a hike in gas prices.

The production cut is OPEC's largest slowdown since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and represents a reported 2 percent of the global supply. The curb is likely a reaction to OPEC seeing a slowing output recently, with Reuters reporting the organization missed its August output target by 3.6 million barrels.

OPEC's decision comes just weeks before the 2022 midterm elections in the U.S., and with the Democrats having gained momentum in the last few months, OPEC was under heavy pressure from the White House to reconsider the move.

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Sources told CNN that the Biden administration's "senior-most energy, economic, and foreign policy officials have been enlisted to lobby their foreign counterparts ... to vote against cutting oil production." One senior official reportedly said the White House was "having a spasm and panicking," and saw the cut as a potential disaster ahead of the midterms — especially with gas prices having fallen for over 100 days in a row.

President Biden told reporters that while he would have to look at OPEC's decision in more detail, he was "concerned" with the oil cut, and viewed it as "unnecessary."

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While the White House has only recently ramped up its efforts to stop OPEC from curbing production, negotiations with the Middle Eastern organization have been ongoing. Over the summer, President Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia — considered OPEC's leading member — for a controversial meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in part to try and convince the Saudis to keep production where it was.

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