STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE: Biden’s Draining It … But Any Plan To Replenish It?

Written by Wes Walker on May 27, 2022

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Decisions will today have consequences tomorrow. It’s hard enough getting Republicans to recognize that. Democrats simply refuse to do so.

Remember that freak moment during COVID when oil prices dropped to negative numbers? Trump used that price drop as an opportunity to top up our strategic oil reserves.

Now that Biden is in office, he’s been rapidly depleting it. This isn’t because some massive fire has wrecked our production capacity or OPEC countries have refused to sell us oil, or anything like that.

It’s because his energy policies have cut energy production — exactly as planned — which has restricted supply. With supply restricted, the prices have gone up. With prices high, he has released some of our strategic reserve oil into the market to bring down price pressure.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us increasingly vulnerable not just on the production side of energy, but also on the reserve side. There’s another obvious reason we need a strategic oil reserve. If the nation goes to war in a significant and protracted way, oil becomes a critical resource. In modern warfare, energy can (and has been) one key difference between winning and losing.

The House Oversight Committee is raising red flags over Biden’s depletion of the strategic reserves, in particular, they are raising questions about what plan, if any, he has to restock it.

Here’s their press release:

Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.), and Oversight Committee Republicans pushed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm to provide the Biden Administration’s plan to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is intended for emergency supply chain disruptions—not as a stop gap to make up for the Democrats’ war on domestic energy production. In their letter to Secretary Granholm, the Republican lawmakers emphasized how Americans continue to suffer from skyrocketing gasoline prices despite the unprecedented release of oil from U.S. reserves and requested an immediate briefing to ensure the Administration is working to refill the SPR and encourage domestic energy production.

“Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans are conducting oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent announcement regarding a long-term replenishment plan for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “The Biden Administration has made diminishing domestic energy production a policy priority—causing the price of gasoline to skyrocket. Numerous times throughout the past year, the Biden Administration has released oil from the SPR with the hopes of lowering domestic gas prices. However, despite these actions, gas prices continue to rise and now stand on average at $4.60, the highest-ever average price since AAA began collecting data in 2000. In addition to that, for the first time ever, gas now costs over $4.00 dollars per gallon in every single state. Now more than ever, the DOE should establish policies that strive to produce more domestic energy instead of using an emergency oil supply in a failed attempt to curb inflation.”

On May 5, 2022, DOE announced a buyback process to replenish a fraction of the 180 million emergency barrels that were previously released by the Biden Administration. As of May 13, 2022, the stockpile in the SPR was 538 million barrels, which is the lowest amount since 1987. The SPR was created in 1973 so the U.S. would have a stockpile of crude oil supply in the case of an emergency. The SPR currently has the capacity to hold 727 million barrels of oil, but after the Biden Administration’s announcement that it plans to release 180 million additional barrels over the next six months, the supply will be critically low.

“We request a briefing to better understand how the DOE intends to implement policies that increase domestic energy production while also restoring the SPR to its intended purpose of protecting the United States from global supply disruption,” continued the Republican lawmakers. “Instead of relying on false promises that a release from the SPR will reduce gas prices, the U.S. should enact polices that re-position itself as a major global energy producer. The American people deserve to know more about DOE’s plan to backfill the SPR. Americans are suffering from record high 8.3 percent inflation including an energy index increase of 30 percent over the last 12 months. The Administration owes the American people answers.”

Meanwhile, Biden:

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This is a great gift for the prayer warriors. Real. Raw. Relevant.