In a move that has sparked criticism and concern, the Biden administration has depleted nearly half of the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to lower gas prices that have reached all-time highs.
Earlier this year, Townhall revealed that the Biden administration was siphoning off millions of barrels of oil from the SPR in what appeared to be a political move to boost Democrats in the upcoming midterms. This decision came after strict limits were placed on U.S. oil production and key infrastructure projects to support oil and gas development were cancelled, causing a self-inflicted energy crisis.
According to the Department of Energy, the SPR, which serves as America’s emergency supply of oil, currently holds 346,758,000 barrels of oil in its underground tanks located in Texas and Louisiana. This is a significant decrease from its capacity to hold 714,000,000 barrels. This depletion of the SPR by the Biden administration has raised concerns about the country’s preparedness for future emergencies.
An article published by Politico highlights the implications of the depleted SPR. The creation of the SPR was a response to an energy crisis during a Middle East war 50 years ago and was meant to protect the country from threats by unfriendly nations. However, the current low levels of the SPR are limiting President Biden’s options to respond to potential oil market shocks, including those that could arise from a widening of the conflict in the Middle East.
This concern is not unfounded, as analysts point out that a full reserve would have given the U.S. a stronger position to enforce sanctions and block Iran’s oil exports. With low levels in the SPR, the country is now heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations with spare capacity to increase supply in case of any disruptions in the market.
The Biden administration has faced backlash for its weak hand when dealing with OPEC+ and requesting increases in production. With a depleted SPR, the U.S. has even fewer options to counter the actions of countries violating sanctions, such as Iran, which has seen a sharp increase in oil exports under Biden’s watch.
This has highlighted the need for the administration to ramp up U.S. energy production and approve development projects that were previously cancelled. The country has the capability to increase its own oil supply without relying on other nations, as it did before Biden took office.
In conclusion, the depletion of the SPR by the current administration has raised concerns about the country’s preparedness for future emergencies and has limited its ability to hold its enemies accountable. President Biden must re-evaluate his energy policies and prioritize increasing domestic production to ensure the stability and security of the country’s energy supply.