A group of U.S. lawmakers urged Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to stabilize oil prices, threatening to introduce legislation that would lead to a withdrawal of economic and political support if it fails to do so.
“We are concerned…with the Kingdom’s actions to artificially distort global crude oil markets as countries around the world struggle to address” the coronavirus crisis, House Republicans led by Minority Whip Steve Scalise said in a letter to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
They said the oil and natural gas industry is based on free market principles in the U.S.
“The Kingdom, however, can change course, reduce production, and restore balance to a market that has seen the most drastic price drop in years,” said the lawmakers.
Oil prices have plummeted with Saudi Arabia and Russia locked in a war over production, with both nations ramping up output after a pact between the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia expired.
According to the letter, the Kingdom’s failure to address the energy crisis will jeopardize joint efforts between the two nations as well as economic and military cooperation.
“As Members of Congress, we have rejected efforts to undermine or undo this partnership. But if the Kingdom fails to act fairly to reverse this manufactured energy crisis, we would encourage any reciprocal responses that the U.S. government deems appropriate,” said the lawmakers.
“It is our hope that those characteristics that have defined our strong strategic partnership for years will continue to serve as the bedrock through this current crisis,” said the letter.
On Thursday, OPEC is expected to reduce its collective output by between 10-15 million barrels per day to trim oversupply.