Just two weeks after his Press Secretary said, “We are not considering new releases from the strategic petroleum reserve,” President Biden announced today that he is authorizing the release of 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The announcement comes in response to OPEC+ decreasing oil production by 2 million barrels per day and the subsequent rise in gas prices at the pump in America.
In March, the Biden Administration, rather than increasing oil production in America, authorized the release of up to 180 million barrels of oil over six months. This latest release of 15 million barrels will complete the 180 million barrels previously authorized.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is now at its lowest point since 1984 with roughly 400 million barrels of oil left. The White House, however, did leave room to release even more from the reserve.
“The Department of Energy remains very able, very vigilant, if we need to deal with additional challenges with supply, with affordability, then we will have additional opportunity with the SPR if we need to do more sales into the future beyond that December time period,” a senior administration official said.
This latest announcement has many concerned about the consequences of draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) wrote on his website, “Given that the United States consumes nearly twenty million barrels of oil per day, the recent decision to release another ten million barrels from the SPR is not only misguided, but it will have a minimal effect on lowering prices at the pump. Draining our emergency supplies is a short-sighted and dangerous choice that imperils our energy security at a critical time of global uncertainty.”
The answer to Moran and many others is simple: “Now is the time to unleash American energy to lower prices, support American jobs and decrease our reliance on adversaries for our energy…We need to encourage innovation across the energy sector and become the world leader in energy production.”
President Biden plans to release even more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It’s a stockpile meant for emergencies, and it’s already at its lowest point in decades.
He’s jeopardizing our security to avoid the obvious solution: more domestic energy production.
— Morgan Griffith (@RepMGriffith) October 18, 2022
The other issue is that the timing of this announcement has led many to believe that it is an attempt by Democrats to “buy” votes right before the midterm elections. This latest announcement could curve gas prices that have been steadily increasing since the OPEC+ announcement, and the release of additional oil may be the only way to stop those prices from increasing even more right before the midterms.