Our country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is dangerously low. New statistics released indicate that our National Emergency Oil Stockpile, which is intended to protect the United States against unexpected and severe supply disruptions, has reached a new historic low. This is a dangerous point for the United States, and even worse, it is self-inflicted. With these facts in mind, new reports indicate that the Biden administration plans to sell oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to appease fuel prices, which was at the forefront of voters’ concerns during last week’s midterm elections. According new data released by the Energy Information Administration, our stock of oil reserves fell to just 396 million barrels. The steep decline, now at its lowest level since April 1984, is not due to natural disasters, trade embargoes or natural disasters, but rather to politics.
Congress created the SPR following OPEC’s 1973 decision to halt oil trade with the United States. This situation illustrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on foreign producers to meet our energy needs. As a result, President Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which permit the federal government to withhold up to 1 billion barrels and disperse if necessary in the event of “serious energy supply disruptions”.
President Biden has used the SPR, which has historically been used in the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or in times of war, as his personal political tool. Knowing that high oil and gasoline prices could be a political liability for his party in November’s midterm, President Biden withdrew from the SPR to keep prices artificially low. Since his inauguration in January 2021, President Biden has drained 230 million barrels of oil. This is the largest drop in reserves by a president in US history.
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Even the need to exploit the SPR is an acknowledgment of the President’s hostile oil policies and how they have contributed to the imbalance between supply and demand. This imbalance caused volatility in the oil markets, leading to record gasoline prices over the summer.
This disturbing reality could have been avoided had President Biden prioritized US energy production, especially crude oil and natural gas. Instead, his administration championed harmful oil and gas policies that have handcuffed the energy sector. He canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, halted new drilling on federal lands, put in place regulatory hurdles and raised taxes on energy companies.
In the future, if the SPR is too depleted, we must have viable options to respond effectively to natural disasters and times of war. Unleashing US energy production, without depleting our own emergency supply, is the lasting solution to stabilizing pump prices and protecting national security. Yet oil production is well below what it was before the pandemic. In 2019 the US Energy Information Administration calculated that we were producing about 12.3 million barrels per day, but in 2021 we were producing about a million less of barrels than this period.
Despite the ongoing energy crisis and gasoline prices beginning to rebound to an average of $4 a gallon, this president is unwilling to encourage more oil from US producers. The White House and the Department of Energy have signaled that all options are on the table to stabilize prices and that they are now returning to operating the SPR again. In mid-October, the Biden administration announcement it will withdraw an additional 15 million barrels over the next few weeks to lower prices ahead of the midterm elections.
Now, nearly 50 years after an OPEC decision spurred the creation of the SPR, the United States is once again facing the consequences of allowing our energy supply to depend on the OPEC cartel. In October, OPEC+ announced its intention to cut oil production by 2 million barrels of oil per day. This massive reduction will have dire consequences for Americans – driving up high energy costs even further. President Biden is running out of ineffective solutions now that he has exhausted the SPR to a dangerous level. Instead of using our strong resources at home, President Biden is looking abroad, and even to hostile countries, for answers. In fact, recent reports have revealed that the White House is in talks with Venezuela.
High gas prices are a real national concern, and steps must be taken to reduce energy costs for Americans. But playing politics with a national security asset is not the way to solve the problem.
We need a real long-term strategy to keep both energy prices affordable and our country’s oil reserves fully supplied. We can do this by building more pipelines, reducing regulatory burdens, reforming our permit laws and supporting energy producers.
By Zerohedge via RealClearEnergy.org
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