News Brief: OPEC meeting, Trump document dispute, U.S. balancing act in Iran
- OPEC and non-OPEC meeting partners decided on Wednesday to impose severe output cuts in order to boost oil prices despite US pressure to produce more.
- Crude prices have dropped to below $80 per barrel, down from more than $120 in early June, as worries of a worldwide economic crisis grow.
The world’s main oil producers have agreed to reduce output by two million barrels per day. Members of the Opec+ group of oil producers, which includes Russia, are taking measures to assist improve oil prices (BBC, 2022). Oil prices have fallen since June when fears of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove them skyrocketing.
What is Opec+?
Opec+ is a group of 23 oil-producing countries that meet on a monthly basis to determine how much crude oil to sell on the global market.
The 13 members of OPEC meeting (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), mostly from the Middle East and Africa, form the nucleus of this group. Opec was founded in 1960 as a cartel with the goal of determining the global supply of oil and its price.
Opec countries now produce nearly 30% of the world’s crude oil. Saudi Arabia is Opec’s largest single oil producer, pumping more than 10 million barrels per day. When oil prices were exceptionally low in 2016, Opec teamed forces with ten additional oil producers to form Opec+.
Among the new members is Russia, which produces over 10 million barrels per day. These countries generate around 40% of the world’s crude oil.
“Opec+ tailors both supply and demand to stabilize the market,” explains Energy Institute’s Kate Dourian. “They keep prices high by reducing supply when demand for oil falls.” By placing more oil on the market, the organization may also cut prices.
US Role After Oil Production Cuts
On Thursday, when asked about the output cut, Mr. Biden stated that “we are looking into alternatives to oil from OPEC Plus nations. “We haven’t decided yet,” he explained.
According to the White House, Biden was “disappointed by OPEC+’s shortsighted decision to lower output quotas while the global economy is suffering with the ongoing detrimental impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”
According to the report, Biden authorised the Department of Energy to release an additional 10 million barrels from the Proven Oil Reserve next month.
OPEC meeting is considering reducing oil production. The battle for Mar-a-Lago records has reached the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the United States attempts to back Iranian demonstrators while negotiating a nuclear agreement with their government.
The transcript WAS IN DETAIL which is discussed below:
1st Session-Opec Meeting
HOST: A MARTINEZ
Many people talk about an electric vehicle and solar panel future, but the truth is that much of the globe still operates on oil. And today’s conference of oil producers might have an impact on everything from gas prices to the global economy to the Ukraine war.
HOST STEVE INSKEEP:
OPEC+ is a grouping of several oil-producing countries. Giant producers such as Saudi Arabia are meeting today to discuss a significant reduction in oil output. The laws of supply and demand imply that decreased production leads to higher prices, causing misery virtually everybody except the Kremlin. Russia, an OPEC meeting member, is a major producer of oil and wants higher prices to fund its invasion of Ukraine.
Jackie Northam, NPR’s international affairs correspondent, is here. What type of transformation are they contemplating, Jackie? What impact would it have on the markets?
BYLINE: JACKIE NORTHAM
As you mentioned, the alliance is meeting today in Vienna, and they’re thinking about reducing 1 million barrels per day, or approximately 10% of what the alliance produces. However, A, there is conjecture that it might increase to 2 million barrels. And, you know, this decision is perceived as Saudi Arabia’s attempt to support prices during the spring. And before the Ukraine crisis, they were earning over $120 a barrel, but then the global economy slowed, and prices plunged last month to around, well, less than $90 (Steve Inskeep, 2022).
OPEC meeting is attempting to shock and wow people with a large production reduction number, and they’re also trying to sustain prices to keep them from dropping further. That is the main point of all of this.
Elguindi believes the Saudis are attempting to push prices back up to $100 a barrel or higher. But we don’t know what OPEC+ will do. They’re most likely negotiating right now. And the United States may be pressing them not to make this step.
Yes, since when supply is reduced, prices rise. But how much is it? Because the price of gasoline in Los Angeles, where I am, is $6.50 a gallon (Inskeep, 2022). That is already influencing some of my holiday plans. What does this all mean?
Well, we’ll have to wait and see what OPEC+ chooses to do. But if it’s $1 million, you can bet it’ll start climbing again. Earlier this summer, we could see what it was. The second concern, of course, is how this would effect global energy costs. European nations, in particular, are already dealing with high house and business prices, and this will exacerbate the situation.
What impact will price rises have on US-Saudi relations?
Oh, this would be a slap in the face to Biden. He’s been strongly chastised for meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he blames for the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. And, you know, all that meeting last summer resulted in was a little boost in output. Saudi Arabia is now irritated because there has been a rush of oil from emergency stocks, the majority of which has come from the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve. So this possible drop might be Saudi Arabia’s way of saying, “Look, we’ve had enough of releasing reserve inventories, which are keeping prices down.”
Also, Russia serves as co-chair of OPEC+. What impact would this choice have on them?
Russia’s economy is built on oil earnings, which are currently essential to the country’s military effort in Ukraine. And, without a doubt, a significant reduction in output implies more money for Russia.
Jackie Northam, NPR’s international affairs correspondent. Thank you, Jackie.
2nd Session-Trump Document Dispute
Former President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to interfere in the investigation of papers collected by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s lawyers filed this appeal late Tuesday. It’s a little confusing here, but in brief, the ex-president asks the court to examine a portion of lower court judgements concerning papers found in his residence. Trump appointed the district judge in this case, as well as two of the three judges who partially overturned her, and three justices on the Supreme Court whom he wishes to overrule.
MARTINEZ: Ryan Lucas, NPR’s justice correspondent, is here. Ryan, this appears to be a fairly restricted appeal. So, what precisely are Trump’s lawyers requesting?
RYAN LUCAS Yes, it is a rather modest request. They urge the Supreme Court to overturn the 11th Circuit’s stay of the special master’s review. In other terms, they want the special master’s examination to include the about 100 secret documents that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago in August.
They are not asking the Supreme Court to prevent the Justice Department from utilising those confidential papers in their inquiry, but they believe it is vital that these classified records be examined by the special master for openness and public trust.
MARTINEZ: Ryan, this has been an ongoing legal saga. How did we end up here?
Since the FBI acquired these records from Mar-a-Lago in early August, there has been a lot of back-and-forth. You may recall that in early September, a Florida judge, who, as Trump stated, was selected by Trump, approved Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review all of the records seized from Mar-a-Lago. Part of that verdict was challenged by the Justice Department.
In its appeal, it sought two things. It wanted the FBI to be able to utilise the hundred or so secret papers in their inquiry, and the Justice Department did not want to have to hand over the classified materials to the FBI.
MARTINEZ: So, what effect does Trump’s appeal have on the Justice Department’s investigation?
It’s not really clear. As I have stated, Trump’s lawyers are not seeking the Supreme Court to prevent federal investigators from utilising secret information in their probe. And keep in mind that the probe is looking at the misuse of national defence secrets as well as the concealment or destruction of government records. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is still contesting the special master’s appointment.
The agency stated in court documents last week that the special master’s review is prolonging their investigation and that they have urged the 11th Circuit to expedite their appeal. That, of all, is something Trump is against.
MARTINEZ: We’ve already discussed the court’s composition, which is controlled by six conservative justices, three of whom Trump selected. And Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, is being investigated for her links to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. What impact do all of these factors have in this situation?
Look, Trump has already gone to the Supreme Court to attempt to protect his company and presidency records from investigations. He hasn’t always done well, after all. Remember, in January, the court denied his attempt to prevent the publication of White House records requested by a House committee on January 6 for its inquiry.
So we’ll see how this new endeavour goes. In this case, Trump’s lawyers have filed an emergency motion with Justice Clarence Thomas, who presides over the 11th Circuit. He has given the Department of Justice until Tuesday to react. Thomas is capable of acting on his own. Or, in a high-profile case like this, the customary course of action would be to recommend it to the whole court.
MARTINEZ: Ryan Lucas of NPR. Thank you, Ryan.
3rd Session-U.S. balancing act in Iran
MARTINEZ: President Biden says he supports Iranian women and anti-government protestors.
Activists claim that the United States might do more to assist following the killing of a young lady at the hands of morality police. The campaigners want Washington to halt nuclear discussions with Iran.
Michele Kelemen of NPR joins us today to discuss policy choices in the United States. We’ve seen photographs of teenage Iranian demonstrators and a violent crackdown on them, Michele. What is the United States doing in response?
MICHELE KELEMEN Yes, the State Department is outraged by the onslaught on these protestors and women. It has levied targeted penalties, notably on so-called moral police, and President Biden has promised more of the same. I’m hearing that further targeted sanctions may be issued today. The US is also enabling US technology companies to provide texting and other internet services to Iranians. Gissou Nia, an Iranian American human rights lawyer, called it a positive step.
However, it is a very late move. And I would strongly urge Big Tech and the US government, where they have power, to guarantee that Iranians may now use the services.
Because many Iranians do not have the means to pay for these services. Sanctions imposed by the United States have made this difficult. So she wants to see the United States collaborate with Big Tech businesses to give these services fast – since, as she argues, they have been in the works for a long time – and for free.
One way the US may help the demonstrators is to change its policy toward Iran. How could they do such a thing?
Some of the things that activists seek are things like working with the United Nations to build up a legal mechanism to document human rights violators and gather information for humans – for potential future prosecutions. That is something that is readily accomplished. Another issue I was discussing with folks. 0 This is Hadi Ghaemi, who leads the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran – is that he believes the United States has been far too hesitant and focused on the nuclear agreement.
The whole administration’s Iran policy has been focused only on nuclear talks. And I believe they are now caught off guard as to how to respond.
For a long time, the Biden administration has been attempting to resurrect a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Iran’s program would be curtailed in exchange for sanctions relief. And, according to Ghaemi, many of his sources are concerned that if Iran receives more money from this deal, it would just use it to crack down on demonstrators. As a result, the United States must perform a delicate balancing act here. And, you know, the negotiations haven’t moved forward in a long time, so perhaps putting them on hold is what protestors want (Inskeep, 2022).
The State Department is also keeping an eye on another piece of news. Iran removed a travel ban on an American man who the United States claims was unlawfully detained in Iran. Is this an indication of a possible US agreement with Iran?
According to the US, this is not part of any agreement, and there was no prisoner swap or release of blocked assets, as the Iranians first stated. It appears to have been primarily a humanitarian gesture by Iran, which has been under fire not only for its treatment of women, but also for this specific issue. We’re discussing Baquer Namazi. He has the age of 85. He used to work for UNICEF. As a result, the Secretary General of the United Nations became engaged.
To give you some context, he was detained in 2016 after travelling to Iran to assist his son, who was already imprisoned. Siamak Namazi, his son, was allowed a week’s leave from jail to see his father before the father traveled for medical treatment outside of Iran. It’s unclear if Siamak will be sent to prison after his furlough ends. There are also other Americans that the US claims are being imprisoned unfairly in Iran.
MARTINEZ: Michele Kelemen, NPR’s diplomatic correspondent. Thank you, Michele.
 Opec: What is it and what is happening to oil prices? 2022 from BBC Steve Inskeep, A Martínez,(5,Oct 2022). “News brief: OPEC meeting, Trump document dispute, U.S. balancing act in Iran” from nhpr.org
 A Martínez,(5 Oct,2022) News brief: OPEC meeting, Trump document dispute, U.S. balancing act in Iran from WPSU.org