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Bush Says Saudi Oil Increase is Not Enough

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U.S. President George Bush says Saudi Arabia's move to increase oil production to make up for declining output elsewhere does not solve the problem of high gasoline prices for Americans. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush again called on opposition Democrats to allow for drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.

It is the second time in four months that Saudi officials rejected the president's request to boost overall oil production to drive down U.S. gasoline prices.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says the kingdom did boost output by 300,000 barrels a day last week, but only to make up for declining production from Venezuela and Mexico.

U.S. National Security Adviser Steven Hadley says Saudi officials told President Bush Friday they do not believe an overall increase in production would dramatically reduce prices at U.S. pumps.

Hadley says Saudi officials argue that rising prices are driven more by uncertainty in the global market and lack of refining capacity.

Speaking to reporters in Egypt Saturday, President Bush says he told King Abdullah that it is in Saudi Arabia's long-term interest to put more oil on the world market.

"I said very plainly, I said you've got to be concerned about the effects of high oil prices on some of the biggest customers in the world," he said. "And, not only that, of course high energy prices is going to cause countries like mine to accelerate our move towards alternative energy."

President Bush says the kingdom's decision to boost output to make up for other shortfalls is something, but it is not enough.

The president says part of the answer is greater domestic production, and he is criticizing opposition Democrats for not allowing companies to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. He also wants more offshore drilling, more nuclear power and more U.S. refineries.

Higher energy costs are partly responsible for America's economic slowdown with record high oil prices and gasoline approaching $4 a gallon.

 

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