The international community should explore all options to alleviate a Russian squeeze of energy supplies that has spiked prices, including talks with producing nations like Iran and Venezuela, a French presidency official said on Monday.
Venezuela has been under U.S. oil sanctions since 2019, and could reroute crude if those restrictions were lifted.
Indirect talks between Iran and the United States to revive a nuclear deal that could see sanctions on Tehran lifted and its oil exports resume have been on hold since March, but are due to resume in Doha soon.
“There are resources elsewhere that need to be explored,” a French official said on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Germany, when asked about how to alleviate high oil prices.
The outstanding issue between Iran and the United States was no longer linked to the nuclear dossier but to U.S. terrorism sanctions, he said.
“So there is a knot that needs to be untied if applicable… to get Iranian oil back on the market,” the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have Venezuelan oil that also needs to come back to the market.”
A second official said all options need to be explored given the stakes, including those involving Iran and Venezuela.
The first official called for a temporary increase in production from oil-producing nations, and said there would be an effort to try and convince them to do so.
France wants a planned mechanism to cap the price of oil to be as broad as possible and not be limited to Russian output, which the official said could lack efficiency given supply and demand dynamics.
“We want to consolidate the position of buyers so that we can be in a better position facing Russia. So we need to diversify supplies and have an outreach to producing countries,” the French official said.
“We want producing countries to produce more temporarily to get over the peak of the crisis.”
The official said that outreach would start with U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip in July to the oil-producing Gulf.
French President Emmanuel Macron was caught by Reuters TV rushing to tell Biden that he had spoken to United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ), who had told him that the UAE and Saudi Arabia could barely increase oil production.
“I had a call with MbZ,” Macron was seen telling Biden after interrupting a conversation between the U.S. leader and his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the sidelines of the G7.
“He told me two things. I’m at a maximum, maximum (production capacity). This is what he claims … and then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day).
“Maybe a little bit more, but they don’t have huge capacities before six months’ time,” Macron said before being asked to continue discussions indoors away from cameras.