Bush to OPEC: Give us more oil!

President Bush urged OPEC nations on Tuesday to put more oil on the world market and warned that soaring prices could cause an economic slowdown in the United States.

"High energy prices can damage consuming economies," the president told a small group of reporters traveling with him in the Mideast.

In a stern warning to Iran days after a Jan. 6 confrontation with U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, Bush put Tehran on notice that it needs to be careful. The president said it would not matter to him whether an attack against an American vessel resulted from an order by the government in Iran or a rash decision by an Iranian boat captain.

"It's not going to matter to me one way or another," Bush said. If the Iranians hit a U.S. ship, "there are going to be serious consequences," he said.

U.S. officials claim Iranian speedboats swarmed three Navy warships in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway that is the only entry and exit to the Persian Gulf. They said U.S. Navy commanders were considering firing warning shots, before the retreat of the five Iranian speedboats, which the Pentagon said were operated by the elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has denied that its boats threatened the U.S. vessels, saying the incident was a normal occurrence, and accused Washington of fabricating video and audio it released. Iran's government has released its own video, which appeared to be shot from a small boat bobbing at least 100 yards from the American warships.

The president spoke to reporters before meeting late Tuesday with Saudi King Abdullah, whose country holds the world's largest supply of oil. Bush said U.S. consumers are feeling the pain of rising oil prices, which topped $100 a barrel this month.

"When consumers have less purchasing power, it could cause the economy to slow down," Bush said. "I hope OPEC nations put more supply on the market," he added. "It would be helpful."

At the same time, he noted that the higher prices are guided by supply and demand, and that there is little excess capacity in the marketplace.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries next meets Feb. 1 in Vienna, Austria, to consider increasing output. OPEC oil accounts for about 40 percent of the world's needs, and OPEC ministers often follow the lead of the Saudis when discussing whether to increase production to take the pressure off rising prices. The Saudis' views carry great weight because Saudi Arabia is responsible for almost one-third of the cartel's total output.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, traveling with Bush in the Mideast, slipped away from the Saudi capital at 6:40 a.m. Tuesday for a quick trip to Iraq. Bush said he had been encouraged by signs of progress in Baghdad and decided that she could "help push the momentum by her very presence."

She congratulated the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, on the passage of legislation reinstating former Saddam Hussein loyalists to government jobs and pushing for progress on other benchmark laws. At a Baghdad news conference, she said political progress has moved along "quite remarkably," citing a new law that allows thousands of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to reclaim government jobs or pensions.

Rice added that the Iraqi parliament's approval of that U.S.-sought law Saturday was a first step and showed that last year's increase of U.S. troops in the country was paying dividends.

Bush said he would not go to Iraq while traveling in the region. There had been widespread speculation he would make a visit.

One of the primary objectives of trip is to build support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He said that Abdullah asked him why he was optimistic about securing an agreement before his White House term ends in January 2009.

"Part of my mission was to make clear why talks failed in the past. There wasn't participation by the neighbors," Bush said, referring to Arab countries that have kept an arm's length from the negotiations.

Bush said he was convinced that the Arab leaders want to see the creation of a Palestinian state in a peace agreement with Israel. "They definitely want it to happen," he said, "and they questioned the seriousness of the United States to remain involved in what has been a long and frustrating process."

"They want to see a deal done," he said. "The issue frustrates them."

Bush spoke to the group of reporters while sitting in a chair under a gold and crystal chandelier in an ornate room of the kingdom's guest palace. Bush said he has faced persistent questions during his trip about a new U.S. intelligence estimate that said Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. That conclusion contradicted Bush's claim that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons and raised questions in the Mideast about U.S. intentions toward Iran.

The president said he made clear that the new finding was a judgment by independent intelligence agencies and that "all options are on the table for dealing with Iran." At the same time, he said he has told leaders he wants a diplomatic solution.

Tensions flared anew with the confrontation last week in the Gulf. Bush said it would be up to the captains of the American ships to determine if their vessels are in jeopardy from Iranian boats.

"These are judgment calls and there are clear rules of engagement," he said. Still, he told the Iranians: "They better be careful. If they hit one of our ships there are going to be serious consequences."

Earlier, Bush spoke before meeting with Saudi business owners, many of them young and educated in the United States. The group included two women. Bush appealed to one of Saudi Arabia's biggest complaints when he acknowledged the tight visa restrictions his administration set after Sept. 11, 2001, on Saudis trying to visit the U.S. The kingdom was the homeland of 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks.

"The United States benefits when people come to my country," Bush said. "And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about."

Later Tuesday, Bush visited al-Murabba Palace and The National Museum, stopping in a gallery describing the Prophet Muhammad's life. The president paused to look at a 136-year-old handwritten Quran that was opened to a page filled with gold and turquoise decorative script.

Afterward, he was traveling to Al Janadriyah Farm, the king's country retreat where he maintains 150 Arabian stallions. That trip repays the two visits that the king, while crown prince, made to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in 2002 and 2005.


  1. darknyt4

    “High energy prices can damage consuming economies,” the president told a small group of reporters traveling with him in the Mideast.”

    OH REALLY? Did the boy genius figure this out all by himself or did Uncle Dick give him help with that before he had his milk and cookies? It is just this kind of enlightend leadership that the United States has the reputation it has in the world today.

    As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you
    can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ’em anyway, you don’t belong in office.-Molly Ivins

  2. Steve Horn

    Funny how “W” seems to forget about his important mission to “spread democracy” (apparently even to countries that aren’t keen on the idea) when he’s talking to the oil-bearing boys ….

  3. barak

    Lies and Misdirection, Murder, mis-management, mangling the Bill of Rights, ignoring the constitution, and high crimes and misdemeanors–these are George W Bush’s legacy.Now let’s add: “Attempted Economist.”

    These high oil prices are not a result of major shortages. They are a result of FEARS of major shortages. There is plenty of oil coming into America. There are no lines at the pumps. We haven’t even touched our ‘strategic reserve’. The thing that is driving oil prices up is Bush’s bellicose words about Iran, and the realization of what his options are as well as the terror of what this screwball is capable of.

    I expect that if we go to war with Iran, oil will soar over $300 a barrel, and if we use nuclear weapons, we will probably be looking at $1,000 a barrel. The market knows this, but isn’t looking at it very hard. Fact is that there is no rational reason for the USA to get into a shooting war with Iran, but few if any have ever considered W. rational.

    There is one good thing that might happen if oil gets up to $1,000 a barrel–all those twits driving SUVs that suck up too much gas, that pollute the air, that race around the beltway daring anybody to get in their way–all will pay or dump the truck in favor of something even they can afford to buy gas for.

    Imagine paying $30 a gallon for gas. Filling a SUV would cost $500 or more.

    And you can take THAT to the bank!

  4. ekaton

    “I expect that if we go to war with Iran, oil will soar over $300 a barrel, and if we use nuclear weapons, we will probably be looking at $1,000 a barrel.”

    If the United States uses nuclear weapons against Iran I suspect oil may not be available from foreign sources at any price. So, yes, $1000/barrel is certainly feasible as the only available sources might be inside the U.S. and offshore within the 12 mile limit. I know if I lived in an oil producing country other than the U.S. and if I had any say about it after U.S. use of nukes, the U.S. would be cut off from purchases from my country.

    — Kent Shaw

  5. acf

    Submitted by barak on January 15, 2008 – 10:33am.

    These high oil prices are not a result of major shortages. They are a result of FEARS of major shortages. There is plenty of oil coming into America. There are no lines at the pumps. We haven’t even touched our ‘strategic reserve’. The thing that is driving oil prices up is Bush’s bellicose words about Iran, and the realization of what his options are as well as the terror of what this screwball is capable of.

    Absolutely on target. Prices at the pump are reacting to oil prices on the open market, not cost of raw material in hand. I believe the reason the profits have been so obscene, is because the difference between what the oil inventory has cost the oil companies, and what they are charging us for the end product, namely gasoline and heating oil, has widened so much. It isn’t because demand has gone up. In fact, I’d guess that with the high gas prices and worsening economy, usage and demand is dropping, or flat at best. It would have taken a huge increase in demand in our market for profits to increase the way they did if the spread between cost and selling price had stayed the same.

  6. Carl Nemo

    Hi barak…

    Luckily the laws of supply vs. demand will not allow this uber pricing of oil to continue. It’s already backing off due to the imminent downdraft in the the world’s capital markets.

    We’ll pretend the U.S. is momma. If momma ain’t happy then the whole world isn’t happy…no?! World markets depend on America’s “feedlot consumerism”. If we slack off they will mostly die like “slugs in the noonday sun” … :))

    World currency markets which are generally non-correlated to the worlds stock markets are all beginning to show weakness in the face of the ugly downdrafts in the U.S. economy, its currency etc. The Euro is holding up, but this might be so due to contrivance on the part of BIS, Bank of International Settlements; i.e, the banker to all the worlds banks including the IMF. There’s also no doubt a Rothschild spin to this ongoing roil in the international markets. The BIS, Bank of International Settlements is where the Gnomes of Zurich live and they call the shots on everything that happens in the world economy, currency markets including the price of gold.

    I personally think they’ve been screwing around for some time facilitating some obtuse plan to put the squeeze on the U.S. along with the citizens of earth, but it’s turned out to be a short-fused firecracker and they’ve blown-off all five fingers on one hand… 😐

    Btw, “Helicopter Ben Bernanke”, the Fed chairman sits on the board of the BIS. They call him “Helicopter Ben” in financial circles because he believes “inflation” is the cure for everything…say what?! He believes is since the U.S. Government has a printing press, the Fed can inflate our way out of a crisis by flying around the countryside in choppers, kicking out bails of currency willy-nilly to solve the problem…not! 😐 He graduated summa cum laude at the undergraduate level and has a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., but you’d think through his market support actions that he really got his training via a cheap-butt correspondence course… :))

    In a fiat currency world; ie., “faith money” backed by nothing, the only way to support currencies is by occasional very necessary recessions, borderline depression. Recessions are not bad in this type of a world currency environment because it flushes out excess in the capital markets.

    Yes, it’s painful and even deadly in some cases to individuals and corporations but in a world that’s seems to have embraced “social and capital market Darwinism” it’s very necessary. Abusers, scamsters, and outright crooks that have used the capital markets to their advantage need to be punished on occasion. Unfortunately they want it both ways. To them markets always go up, never down. They are denying the basic law of supply vs. demand and to that end they shall destroy not only themselves but the system they have so embraced in good times, but deny in the bad…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Sandra Price

    It’s the cost of shipping American goods that will raise the price of our food and clothing. My schools never had school buses as they private but I remember the busing of kids into minority neighborhoods that added millions of dollars to the Los Angeles County School districts.

    Last night on the History or Science channel, it was discovered that there is plenty of oil in the oceans if only the Americans would build refineries. Bush would rather blame OPEC than solve the problem himself. Dr. Vetner who broke the genetic codes for humans is now scouring the oceans searching for the codes of the creatures who live close to the bottom and feel they indicate tons of oil and hydrocarbon.

    Bush is binary and cannot multi-task on what he has done wrong. The sooner he is gone the better and I can only hope we do not put in another President who would rather deal with the Arabs. We must be careful of Hillary and Rudy in this respect. They are the kind of leaders who would do anything for personal gain.

  8. Carl Nemo

    What Bush doesn’t tell the American people is that the U.S. is buying large amounts of crude at record prices to allegedly replenish the national oil reserves. He’s been chided by Chuck Schumer et. al. for doing so, but of course it’s falling on conveniently deaf ears.

    Interestingly Bushco didn’t do this when oil was quite a bit lower a year ago, but is voraciously buying oil, using the national credit card to do so in the worst of times.

    It’s estimated by traders that the U.S. government is adding 10 percent to the price of crude oil by buying so much oil at unreasonably high prices. Yep, ol’ George and Dick are keeping their patrons grinnin’ ear to ear.

    So again, you can thank George W. Bush and his PNAC running dogs for continually creating so much grief for Americans and the world especially during the winter months.

    The USD is tanking, our markets are on the skids, today as an example, unemployment is rising at a record pace, home repossessions are on an exponential rise and as explained even oil pricing is engineered. Yep, our reps at all levels are really looking out for “we the people”…no?! 😐

    Everything about Bush, Cheney, and our elected reps is loathesome and vile. Why are “we the people” allowing their Congressional reps to do a job on them is beyond me. People should be picketing their Congressional reps “state” offices nationwide with pitchforks and torches in hand for symbolism and demanding they get us out of Iraq, Afghanistan and to disinvolve ourselves in Pakistan too asap along with the summary impeachment of these two NWO running dogs; ie., Bush/Cheney…!

    I guarantee if my recommendations came to pass, the price of oil would deflate like a pin-pricked balloon and all these national and international freebooters would have extremely long faces to say the least.


    Carl Nemo **==

  9. ekaton

    “The USD is tanking, our markets are on the skids, today as an example, unemployment is rising at a record pace, home repossessions are on an exponential rise … ”

    Hmmmm. We might be in a recession soon if we aren’t careful. (dripping sarcasm)

    — Kent Shaw

  10. Bill Jonke

    My laugh is that not too long ago, Bush said we were addicted to oil! Now he wants to ensure that he gets his fix.

    What a rube! Talk about your addictive personality!

  11. Rlast


    There may not be much oil left!

    Lately the Saudis have been refusing a lot of high pressure requests to increase production. Historically, they have been only too happy to increase output because very high oil prices are bad for sellers as well as buyers. The demand for oil and gas is relatively inelastic in the short term, but when prices stay high for extended periods, folks adjust; e.g., selling off their SUVs, as Barak suggested above.

    We’ve always known that fossil fuels are a finite resource. What makes commenters above so sure that the Saudi’s still have extra oil to pump out? Or that there are infinite amounts of the stuff just lying around on the floor of the ocean waiting to be scooped up?

    True, Petrobras just announced a major deep sea discovery about 200 miles off Brazil, but it will take at least 10 years, and huge investment to overcome technical challenges before anything flows from this new discovery. Meanwhile, the massive North Sea gas field that was just coming on-stream when my family left the UK in 1970 has now been depleted. Natural gas supplies in Canada peaked about 2-3 years ago and have been declining at 5% per year since. And without natural gas, forget the Canadian tarsands; you can’t extract oil without gas.

    Finally, while I appreciate Carl Nemo’s comment (above) regarding the timing of WH purchases for strategic oil reserve, this may simply be another case of bushco incompetence and too little, too late. Oil futures of $200 per barrel by the end of 2008 are still selling very briskly!

  12. Carl Nemo

    Hi RebLast…

    “this may simply be another case of bushco incompetence” …?!

    Thanks for your feedback and reference to my commentary.

    Rest assured there’s nothing incompetent about any of Bushco’s actions. He and his family have been making money off war and its derivative opportunities for the past 100 years. If “we the people” keep cutting these monsters slack by attributing it to incompetence, it will be our collective undoing.

    These people are 13th octave NWO, corporatist sponsored monsters plain and simple! Continue to blink and we are all “DEAD”…!

    Some food for thought…!


    Carl Nemo **==

  13. calico_jack

    Ahem! Nuclear power + electric cars looking better now?…

    Sorry to keep pounding away at this, but I honestly feel it may be our only hope. So in a week when there’s another CHB story about our oil woes (because we have so many and it IS an important issue), I am going to post something similar again.

  14. Carl Nemo

    Hi calico_jack et. al. …

    You might find a site that I’m going to recommend quite enjoyable. I’ve been a participant for about a month and subjects like nuclear power, electric cars, manned missions to Mars and other subjects are addressed regularly. I think you and other members of CHB would enjoy this site as a respite from too much political repartee’. It’s my favorite, “relief” watering hole at this point in time.

    I’m a relentless foe against the NWO and their plans for pacifiying not only the U.S. but the people’s of the world. We are all in this together and these elitists simply consider us as groundlings, they the predators, and we evidently as their prey…!

    As in the GEICO caveman commercials…they think they are so much “schmarter” than “we the people”…not! 😐
    At least not on my watch.

    Dad2059’s Blog of Science Fiction/Science Fact and Random Acts of Weirdness

    A Child of the Lens and Seeker of Tomorrow

    Home About http://dad2059.wordpress.com/

    Truly a fun site…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  15. Rlast

    Hello Carl Nemo,

    Yes, sadly, I think you’re probably right and a lot of the bushco “incompetence” is feigned, or masks a more sinister self-interested purpose. As a non-american and long-time lurker on Capitol Hill Blue, I was trying to be polite. :-)

    Cheers, Rebe