Bush Begs Saudi King for Oil

Public plea rejected, Bush entreats Abdullah personally
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2008 2:31 PM CST
US President George W. Bush waves from Air Force One before his departure from King Khalid International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Bush is traveling to Sharm el-Sheikh,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After his public request for increased oil production and the resulting price drop was rejected yesterday, President Bush made a personal appeal to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to be more generous with his wells, ABC News reports. Only an hour after Bush’s public plea, the Saudi oil minister announced the country would increase production “when the market justifies it.”—a polite refusal.

The direct plea to the Saudi monarch means, a White House press secretary said, that there was now “a hope … that OPEC would be encouraged to…increase production.” Bush’s argument to the Saudis was that lower oil prices could avert a US recession: “They know that if our economy weakens … it will affect their ability to sell barrels of oil," Bush said.