More than 5 million barrels of oil from President Joe Biden’s “unprecedented” release from the nation’s emergency petroleum reserves were shipped overseas last month as domestic energy prices reached record highs amid roaring inflation.
“The [Strategic Petroleum Reserve] remains a critical energy security tool to address global crude oil supply disruptions,” a spokesman for the Department of Energy told Reuters in a statement. The release to overseas nations, the representative added, helped stable the supply of oil, with shipments to the Netherlands, India, and China. Another ship is expected to carry American reserve oil overseas later this month.
On the final day of March, Biden ordered that 1 million barrels of oil be released from the nation’s emergency reserves for 180 days, which would strategically coincide with the timing of the November midterms, as the president faces political blowback for engineering high energy prices. Democrats with razor-thin majorities in both chambers are already bracing for a hostile election season since the president’s party has historically suffered tremendous losses in the first midterms.
Biden’s latest release marked the third time the White House has ordered that oil be taken from the strategic reserves. At his State of the Union address in March, Biden announced the release of 30 million barrels of American petroleum in a move coordinated with other countries tapping their own reserves to bring a total of 60 million barrels onto the market after Russia launched war on Ukraine. Western allies including the United States have since implemented embargoes on Russian oil, the world’s third-largest producer, which supplies 11 percent of the globe’s petroleum.
Last fall, the president released 50 million barrels of oil from the emergency reserves to artificially suppress rising gas prices going into the Thanksgiving holiday.
The consequences of Biden’s reserve drawdowns have been minimal to blunt high gas prices in a nation that uses about 20 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. In fact, each release has been followed by steep increases at the pump.
By the end of Biden’s six-month release, the White House will have tapped 260 million barrels from the emergency reserves within two years of his inauguration, leaving the stockpile at its lowest level since 1986. In May, the Department of Energy announced plans to replenish only 60 million barrels of what’s been released despite an authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is doubling down on its energy policies with an axe to the fossil fuel industry. On Friday, the Department of the Interior blocked new offshore drilling projects in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico after cancelling leases in each region two months ago.
Last week, Biden’s director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, said the administration’s refusal to unleash American oil production is intended to cement the “liberal world order.”