September 7, 2022

Tracing World Energy Upheaval to Biden’s Desk

From Saudi Arabia’s production to Russian retaliation, Biden’s policies have consequences.

Presidents don’t personally dictate the price of gasoline at your local station or the cost of natural gas for your home appliances and heating, but they do have a huge impact on markets with their policies.

President Donald Trump unleashed the American energy juggernaut by cutting regulations and getting government out of the way, lowering prices and raising prosperity. President NOT Donald Trump (i.e., Joe Biden) has done just the opposite, starting his presidency by shutting down pipelines and canceling leases, proceeding to subsidize “renewable” energy as his favorite winner. The result? Higher prices for everything and greater dependence on foreign powers like Saudi Arabia and Russia.

We’ve written ad nauseam about Biden’s efforts to deflect blame for skyrocketing gas prices to anyone but him, only to turn around and falsely brag about how much he’d brought prices back down with foolish gimmicks like depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Price check: $3.76 national average today, down from a record high of $5.02 but up from Trump’s last day at $2.39.

We’ve appropriately hammered Biden for going hat in hand to beg Saudi Arabia, which he once called an “international pariah,” to increase production and help lower prices. The Saudis, insulted by Biden and endangered by his dalliances with Iran as they are, less-than-politely told Biden to pound sand. Eventually, they agreed to increase production by about 100,000 barrels per day, or about 0.1% of global demand.

This week, however, the Saudis announced that they would actually be cutting oil production by 100,000 barrels per day, erasing that previous boost. It’s a clear signal that the Saudis are quite happy with oil around $100 per barrel, thank you very much, and they’re certainly not going to decide production based on Biden’s poll numbers or campaign messaging. To add insult to injury, the Saudis are raising prices for U.S. buyers while lowering them for customers in Asia and Europe.

OPEC still holds a lot of sway in global oil markets. As Defense Priorities fellow Daniel DePetris writes: “About 80 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in OPEC member states, and the cartel is responsible for more than half of the world’s output. Put simply: oil is power.”

Biden’s pipe dreams of windmills and electric cars only put the U.S. increasingly at the mercy of the oil barons in the Middle East for the fossil fuels that still drive our economy.

It’s not just the Middle East, either. Biden’s reckless weakness in Afghanistan emboldened Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, which also negatively affected world energy prices.

Putin’s war isn’t going as well as he’d hoped, though, and one of his methods for retaliating against European sanctions is to strangle their energy supply. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom announced this week that the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline will be shut off until repairs can be made. “Repairs.” Mmhmm. The Russians even blame repair delays on sanctions.

(Memo to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: It is Nord Stream, not the upscale department store Nordstrom.)

Germany faces an energy crisis worse than other nations thanks to an over-reliance on Russian gas and its own renewables. Desperate to keep the power on this winter, Berlin has announced the reopening of idled coal-fired power plants and an extension to keep two of its three remaining nuclear reactors running. Upheaval in the European natural gas market, by the way, raises your prices here at home.

Unfortunately, we’re not yet 20 months into Joe Biden’s 48 months as president, and he’s already done or had a hand in a lot of damage to global energy markets. Did he literally change the price of gasoline or natural gas? Well, he could certainly say as the infamous stickers do, “I did that.”

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