Biden and Macron overheard discussing Saudi oil during G7 Summit

The French President was seen talking to his US counterpart during a private conversation during the G7 Summit

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Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron have been overheard discussing Saudi oil during the G7 Summit.

The French President was seen talking to his US counterpart about oil production during a private conversation.

Mr Macron told Mr Biden that the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ), told him two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production.

He said: "I had a call with MbZ.

Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron
Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron

"He told me two things. I'm at a maximum, maximum (production capacity).

“This is what he claims. And then he said Saudis can increase by 150 thousands barrels per day (bpd).

“Maybe a little bit more but they don't have huge capacities.”

The conversation was overheard by journalists who were also at the summit.

A statement from the UAE's top energy official later said that his country is producing its assigned OPEC+ quota of 3.168 million barrels per day.

Mr Macron and Mr Biden alongside other leaders at the G7 Summit
Mr Macron and Mr Biden alongside other leaders at the G7 Summit

"In light of recent media reports, I would like to clarify that the UAE is producing near to our maximum production capacity based on its current OPEC+ production baseline," said Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei.

World oil prices have been steadily rising in recent months due to a shortage of supply and rebound in demand from the worst of the coronavirus epidemic. Prices have risen further since Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February.

On Monday, benchmark crude rose following Mr Macron's comments.

Brent oil prices rose 1.7 percent to above £94 per barrel as the West seeks ways to reduce Russian oil imports to punish Moscow.

Saudi Arabia is producing 10.5 million bpd and has a nameplate capacity of 12.0 million-12.5 million bpd, which in theory shall allow it to raise production by 2 million.

The UAE is producing some 3 million bpd, has capacity of 3.4 million and has been working on raising it to 4 million bpd.

Europe is looking for ways to replace as much as 2 million bpd of Russian crude and some 2 million bpd of refined products it had been importing from Moscow before the Ukraine war.