U.S. President George W. Bush said on March 2nd, just two weeks before OPEC’s next meeting to discuss possible production cuts, that energy security would be a priority of foreign policy under the new administration.
After Spencer Abraham was sworn in as U.S. Energy Secretary, Bush said that he would work to restore “American credibility with overseas suppliers” and to build strong ties with non-OPEC energy-producing nations, including Mexico and Canada.
Bush said that: “Our objective should not only be to manage the current situation, but to avoid any crisis in the first instance.”
He indicated that the nation was suffering from not having an adequate energy policy and that “many Americans are struggling with the high cost of energy.”
Bush had formally asked Congress on February 28th to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and natural gas drilling as part of a new energy policy that would boost domestic production and reduce foreign oil dependence.
He said that: “The goals of this strategy are clear: to ensure a steady supply of affordable energy for America’s homes and businesses and industries, and to work toward the day when America achieves energy independence.”
Bush has also said that working closely with OPEC producers would be a key element of the new administration’s energy strategy, but has been silent on the White House’s position for the upcoming OPEC meeting on March 16th.
Abraham has met with several OPEC ministers in Washington and spoken with others by phone, but has said that he will keep a low profile in dealing with the cartel, a welcome change from his outspoken predecessor Bill Richardson.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)