Travel

Biden could travel to Saudi Arabia in search of oil, report says, as Russia ban remains a possibility

Biden could travel to Saudi Arabia in search of oil, report says, as Russia ban remains a possibility

President Biden could explore other options for oil with a possible trip to Saudi Arabia in the coming months, according to a new report.

According to Axiosthe president’s advisers see the trip as a way to repair barriers with the Islamic nation and get them to produce more oil to make up for the loss that would occur if the United States banned the purchase of oil from Russia.

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The meeting would come at a time when Americans are hurting due to inflation, which has been particularly noticeable at the gas pump, with prices climbing higher and higher. Biden spent much of the last year citing the need to move away from fossil fuels because climate change was the “biggest threat” to the country, and one of his first acts was to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now critics are chastising him, pointing to current events as proof that energy independence is essential. When the United States bragged about sanctions against Russia last month, the Treasury Department made it clear that the transaction block included an exclusion allowing energy-related purchases. The administration leaves the possibility of filling this gap as an option.

Turning to Saudi Arabia as an alternative could force the United States to iron out some differences between the two nations. Last year, Biden released an unclassified report concluding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, approved the killing of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi. MBS recently made it clear that he doesn’t want the West to interfere in his affairs, delivering a chilling message in a recent interview with Atlantic.

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“We have no right to lecture you in America,” MBS said. “It’s the same the other way around.”

Talks with Saudi Arabia could also be complicated, given recent progress toward a new nuclear deal with Iran, which has raised concerns among Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Saudi Arabia is also in talks with Iran, but they want to make sure a deal will be comprehensive enough to genuinely prevent their regional rival from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“We don’t want to see a weak nuclear deal because the outcome will be the same in the end,” MBS said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the White House is not confirming whether Biden will indeed go to Saudi Arabia.

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“We have no international travel to announce at this time, and much of it is premature speculation,” an administration spokesperson told Axios.

Currently, the White House is exploring other energy options and officials are in Venezuela for discussions with the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.