Donald Trump Tells OPEC to Lower Crude Oil Prices, Even As Iran Sanctions Loom
crude oil refinery (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued a fresh call for Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to lower crude prices, saying the United States was providing Middle Eastern energy giants with security and hence in turn these countries should provide relief.

“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted.

“We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”

Trump's call to OPEC comes as his country goes to mid-term polls -- elections will be held to elect congressmen and senators to the House of Congress. High oil prices have pulled up the domestic oil price in the U.S.

That’s a clear nudge to OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia, to agree to a production boost when they meet this weekend. OPEC members will meet with non-Opec countries, such as Russia, over the weekend to examine their production quotas.

Brent crude is currently trading near to $80 per barrel, close to its highest level since November 2014. Futures prices for West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, dipped slightly following Trump’s tweet before recovering and then retreating once again to trade roughly flat. On Wednesday, WTI climbed back above $70 a barrel. The price of oil is up 7 percent in the last month and nearly 18 percent for 2018.

Oil analysts believe OPEC nations are unlikely to lift production limits, despite pressure from the U.S.

Iran, for example, has indicated it is happy with oil at $80 per barrel, so would presumably oppose a production increase. Tehran is also facing looming sanctions  from the U.S. and will obviously oppose Trump’s suggestion. Iran’s oil production is likely to drop as U.S. sanctions kick in beginning November.

Oil prices have been climbing sharply since OPEC agreed to a historic deal to curb production in late 2016. The freeze on output levels has helped to remove over-capacity from the market, meaning oil producing nations are benefiting from higher prices.