OPEC Alliance Keeps Gradual Output Increases, Despite U.S. Request

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a group of Russia-led producers said they agreed to continue increasing oil production in measured steps, resisting for now recent U.S. pressure to open the group’s spigots wider.

In July, the OPEC-Russian alliance agreed to gradually bring back millions of barrels a day of production that they had bottled up at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At a virtual meeting Wednesday, the group chose to continue moving gradually with that plan, boosting output in monthly installments of 400,000 barrels a day through the latter end of 2022.

The move came despite the White House saying last month the planned increases were insufficient, urging OPEC to boost oil production faster as countries around the world seek to emerge from the pandemic. The U.S. call came as the Biden administration faces criticism over rising inflation, including climbing gasoline prices.

OPEC delegates have said that it was too early to accelerate the return of more of its oil to markets since many countries are still grappling with the impact of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, and as rival producers—like American shale-oil producers—prepare to bring back barrels.

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