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The US government wants to see oil production rise, including that of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the US diplomat’s most senior energy official said on Monday.

“As the world’s economies recover” from the new coronavirus pandemic, “consumption (including oil) will increase,” explained the US Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Energy and the Environment, Jose Fernandez , speaking to AFP on the sidelines of a conference dedicated to energy issues in Houston (Texas).

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Hence “we would like to see supply meet demand”, added Mr Fernandes.

“We would like more production” of crude on a global scale, including OPEC+, meaning OPEC and countries allied with it, the official insisted.

In early October, OPEC+ decided to cut production by two million barrels per day and has not changed its level since.

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI ), the US benchmark variety, is currently trading at about a third of the price it reached a year ago, a few days after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But it is more than 40% higher than in 2019 at the same time and almost 30% higher than in 2018.

Between September 2021 and early January 2023, President Joe Biden’s administration drew nearly 250 million barrels from the US Strategic Reserves (SPR) and put them on the market to lower prices.

The US head of state has repeatedly called for an increase in the volume OPEC+ produces, but the organization has not increased its quotas in six months.

In February, the cartel’s member states’ crude production, as estimated by the Reuters news agency, was roughly two million barrels lower than in February 2019.

OPEC is forecasting an increase in demand of 2.32 million barrels per day through 2023 compared to last year.