Trump says Saudi Arabia will boost oil production up to 2M barrels

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US President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One in flight as he travels from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, to Bedminster, New Jersey, June 29, 2018. (AFP Photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One in flight as he travels from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, to Bedminster, New Jersey, June 29, 2018. (AFP Photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Saturday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman had agreed to his request to increase oil production "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels" to offset production from Iran and Venezuela.

Trump said on Twitter that he asked Salman to increase oil production "to make up the difference...Prices to high! He has agreed!"

Meanwhile Saudi state media reported that Salman and Trump held a phone call, and discussed the need to preserve oil market stability and the efforts of oil-producing countries to compensate for any potential shortage.

The statement, however, did not mention any intention by Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, to raise production to 2 million barrels per day.

Trump's comments come as oil prices have edged higher as his administration pushes U.S. allies to end oil purchases from Iran.

The OPEC cartel recently agreed to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil per day. Trump's claim of a 2-million-barrel increase for Saudi Arabia alone does not specify a timeframe.

The Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November when the United States re-imposes sanctions against Tehran, after Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six major powers, calling it a "defective" agreement.

That agreement sought to curb Tehran's nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. Trump ordered the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran that were suspended under the accord.

U.S. officials are pressing allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to adhere to the sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Iran to negotiate a follow-up agreement to halt its nuclear programs.

State Department officials said this week the United States is prepared to work with countries on a case-by-case basis to help them reduce imports of Iranian oil.

China, the world's top crude oil buyer, imported around 655,000 barrels a day on average from Iran in the first quarter of this year, according to official Chinese customs data, equivalent to more than a quarter of Iran's total exports.

Oil analysts said OPEC producers may not be able to fully supply the market if Iranian oil is cut from the market.

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