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Biden announces sale of 15 million barrels of reserve oil

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he will authorize the sale of more oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve as his administration works to contain high gas prices ahead of the midterm elections.

Speaking at the White House, Biden said the Department of Energy would sell the remaining 15 million barrels of the 180 million barrels authorized for sale in March — a move the president claimed would help lower the price of gas. lower and families a bit of “breathing room.”

“I’ve done everything I can to lower gas prices since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused these prices to soar and rock international oil markets,” Biden said.

In 2016, a contractor works on a crude oil pipeline at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas.Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Biden said his administration would adopt a “ready and release plan” that would allow it to “act quickly” to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the future “to prevent oil price hikes and respond to international events.”

The US uses about 20 million barrels oil per day, and many analysts say the sale of another 15 million barrels from the oil reserve is unlikely to have a major effect on gas prices.

Established as a national energy safety net after the oil crisis of the 1970s, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is currently at its peak. lowest level since 1984.

Biden acknowledged that the oil reserve’s resources have been depleted and said his government would buy crude oil to refill it once prices fall to $70 a barrel.

Biden, who has spent months urging oil companies to ramp up oil production, said his announcement to replenish oil reserves should assure the oil industry that they “can invest to ramp up production now with confidence that they can supply their oil.” sell to us.”

“My message to oil companies is this: you are on record profits and we are giving you more certainty so you can act now to increase oil production,” Biden said.

US gas prices had fallen after an average of $5.02 a gallon in June. But gas prices have risen again in recent weeks after OPEC+ — an alliance of oil-rich countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia — announced earlier this month it would cut production by 2 million barrels per day.

Global energy markets could tighten even more in December when a European embargo on Russian oil comes into effect. The oil ban was issued as part of the West’s response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden’s announcement comes just weeks before the November midterm elections as his party fights to hold on to its tight majorities in the House and Senate. Biden’s Approval Rating Floats Around 43 percent.

Asked by reporters whether his actions on Wednesday were intended to boost Democrats in the election, Biden said, “It’s not politically motivated at all.”

Biden also said his drive to increase U.S. oil production did not contradict his administration’s goals of transitioning to green energy to help fight climate change.

“You can now increase oil and gas production and still go full steam ahead to accelerate our clean energy transition. That way, we can cut energy costs for American families and improve our national security at a very difficult time,” Biden said.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s emergency petroleum is stored in four underground salt caverns along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. At this time last year, the four sites had about 620 million barrels of crude oil, the largest emergency supply in the world and enough reserve to meet all of U.S. consumption needs for about a month. There are now about 400 million barrels of crude oil left in the SPR.

The President can order a full withdrawal of the reserve in the event of a major power outage and may also order a limited withdrawal to provide for short-term emergencies.

Since its inception, only three presidents other than Biden have led the sale of oil from the petroleum reserve, while exchanges were more common.

Barack Obama directed the release of 30 million barrels in 2011 to offset supply disruptions caused by the Libyan civil war; in 2005, George W. Bush released 11 million barrels to help refineries hit by Hurricane Katrina; and in 1991 George HW Bush released 17 million barrels in response to the Gulf War.

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