According to a Reuters article posted on May 15th, last year the Biden administration sold 180 million barrels of America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in order to stabilize the oil market and fight the high prices Americans were paying at the pump. The fact that this was done during an election year is purely coincidental.
On May 20th, The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:
President Joe Biden in December began working to replenish the 180 million barrels he sold last year from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Nearly six months later, he still has zero barrels to show for it.
Biden’s Energy Department on Monday announced its intention to purchase up to three million reserve barrels as a “continuation” of the president’s “replenishment strategy.” So far, however, that “strategy” has seen the Democrat fail to purchase a single barrel of reserve oil. The administration first tried to purchase three million reserve barrels in December, when Biden kicked off his “plan to replenish the SPR.” One month later, Biden’s Energy Department revealed it had rejected all offers it received to purchase the oil because those offers “were either too expensive or didn’t meet the required specifications.”
…Facing the “impossible” task of refilling the reserve to its past levels—the stock held 638 million barrels of oil when Biden took office and now holds just 362 million—Biden’s Energy Department is now channeling its replenishment efforts toward a more modest goal. The department in May touted its “significant progress toward replenishment,” citing its role in canceling congressionally mandated sales that would have seen the department sell 140 million reserve barrels between 2024 and 2027. As a result, the department says, the reserve will be effectively replenished by 2027—not because the barrels Biden sold will have been bought back, but rather because the reserve will save barrels thanks to the canceled sales.
“This cancellation … will allow the SPR to have the same number of barrels in reserve by the end of FY 2027 that it would have had emergency barrels not been sold in 2022,” the department said.
Oil prices sit at $72 a barrel, and the Biden administration hopes to purchase reserve oil at anywhere between $67 to $72 a barrel. Republicans tried to fill the reserve to its capacity in the spring of 2020—when a barrel of oil cost as low as $15—but Senate Democrats blocked the plan, attacking it as a “bailout for big oil.”
Biden went on to sell a historic number of reserve barrels in 2022, when the average price for a gallon of gas exceeded $5 in the United States for the first time ever. Millions of those barrels were sent overseas—Biden even sold nearly one million U.S. reserve barrels to a Chinese state-controlled gas giant, the Free Beacon reported last year, a sale that came as America’s top adversary scrambled to build up its own stockpile of oil.
I can’t help but wonder who advised the Biden administration to sell oil to China when we were tapping our own oil reserves. The use of the SPR for political purposes is a first, and it has left America in a weakened position. It really is time to go back to drilling for American oil and selling that oil to Americans.