- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The White House said Wednesday that it is considering a range of options as fears Russia could invade Ukraine have pushed oil prices to nearly $100 a barrel.

“For the president, all options are on the table,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, adding the U.S. has been in touch with U.S. allies, partners and suppliers for several weeks.

She said that the administration and its allies are taking steps to prepare for “a range of impacts” including the anticipation of an invasion or a Russian attack on Ukraine, which would send oil prices north across the globe.

“We will continue these engagements,” Ms. Psaki said.

President Biden has weathered criticism for restricting oil and natural gas production in the U.S. while encouraging more output from foreign producers. The U.S. has also increased its import of oil from Russia.

Crude futures on Monday rose above $96 per barrel Monday, before dropping slightly. Prices are at their highest levels since 2014 and are exacerbating the world’s inflation crisis.

Both sides of the Atlantic fear a conflict between Russia and Ukraine could lead to an oil shortage, shooting the price of oil above $100 barrels for the first time in nearly eight years.

Russia is one of the world’s top natural producers of oil and natural gas, supplying near a third of the gas to Europe. Leaders worry that a war between Ukraine and Russia would damage the region’s energy infrastructure. They are also concerned that sanctions imposed on Russia by the West would reduce its exports.

Fears are also mounting that Russian President Vladimir Putin could weaponize his country’s oil and gas exports to pressure Europe to stay out of the conflict.

President Biden last year released barrels of oil from the U.S.’s strategic reserve and said he was prepared to release more to help combat rising gas prices.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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