Saudi Arabia’s king pledges to raise crude oil output if needed

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"In response to the approval of the President (trump - if) on the deficit in the oil market, king Salman affirmed that the Kingdom has a reserve production of 2 million barrels per day, which can be used if necessary to stabilize the market", - reads the statement released by the White house.

Since OPEC's decision on June 22 and 23 to ease the 1.8 million barrels a day cap (by around a million barrels shares mostly by Saudi Arabia and Russia), prices have jumped more than 10% to Friday's close of $US74.15 for US West Texas Intermediate crude.

Oil prices hit $80 a barrel this year for the first time since 2014, prompting consumers like the United States to raise concerns. Trump's claim of a 2-million-barrel increase for Saudi Arabia alone does not specify a timeframe. These mainly include Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq and Kazakhstan.

Saudi Arabia - along with other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC nations, including Russian Federation - had agreed on June 22 to boost production by a combined 700,000 to 1 million barrels a day, a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices. Iran is a major supplier of oil to countries across the globe including India and China. Saudi oil officials did not immediately comment.

The Democratic opposition has blamed part of that increase on Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, while Republicans fear that rising gasoline prices will boring Americans' enthusiasm for the USA economy as they approach next November's legislative elections. Average prices for unleaded gas, including taxes, averaged $2.83 a gallon for the week ending June 25 - up about 55 cents over the same period a year ago.

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On Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the USA was trying to drive a wedge between Iranians and their government using "economic pressure". "While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, up to one year", said Amrita Sen of consultancy Energy Aspects.

Oil analysts and consultants nonetheless think the kingdom can produce more than 12 million barrels a day in an emergency through a so-called surge, in which oil fields are depleted beyond what engineers consider a reasonable rate.

He did not specify if the figure was barrels per day (bpd), the normal measure for oil production.

Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of trying to push up oil prices and said both countries are acting against the foundation of OPEC. They did state how much extra supply they would add. When Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions, that meant Iranian exports would come under pressure. Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis, which has caused oil production to plummet. The 13% surge in prices has been driven by a series of factors in the global oil market that will trickle down to U.S. drivers filling up their gas tanks.

"I guess the Saudis want to give the confidence to Trump to go very hardcore on Iran", tweeted the oil market's most vocal bull, commodities hedge-fund manager Pierre Andurand.

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