The number two official in the Energy Department admits the Biden administration might not be able to take a total advantage of falling oil prices in a move to refill the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told Bloomberg TV that maintenance and physical constraints of the underground caverns where oil has been held in reserve for years, has limited refilling efforts to about 3 million barrels a month. The Reserve is at its lowest level since the 1980s because the Biden administration used it to lower the nation’s gasoline prices.
“That is the physical limit of how much we can buy back,” Turk said in a Bloomberg TV interview on the sidelines of the COP28 climate conference. “We hope we can bring more capacity on line at these price levels to buy as much as we can to refill. We will buy back as much as we possibly can, but there are some physical constraints.”
West Texas Intermediate crude is at its lowest level since Nov. 16 after falling to $73.45 a barrel on Monday.
Biden’s use of the reserve for what critics call “political purposes” drew pointed attacks from Oklahoma members of Congress. Some have contended the plunging total in the reserve put the U.S. national security at extreme risk.
When he was a member of the U.S. House, now-Sen. Markwayne Mulling tweeted, “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is meant for emergency purposes, not as a Band-Aid for or distraction from bad policy.”
U.S. Sen. James Lankford was equally critical of the President and issued a blast in January of this year.
““It’s ridiculous that Biden would try to ‘cancel’ traditional energy production here at home and then propose using our emergency reserves of oil,”said Lankford. “We should not pull oil out of the public Strategic Petroleum Reserve without also increasing energy production on public lands. We should ensure the federal government can’t just beg OPEC and others for foreign oil while holding back domestic energy production. This is a yet another example of Biden putting his climate-change agenda over American jobs and energy independence. I will continue to stand against it.”
Click here for Bloomberg