After lowering the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to what some Oklahoma congressional members called dangerously low levels and at the same time harming the nation’s national security, the Biden administration plans to buy 2.7 million barrels of oil to replenish the reserve.
The Department of Energy made the announcement on Friday and explained the purchase would be at an average price of $79 a barrel. The move came after the President used more than 40% of the Reserve to lower gas prices last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It left the stockpile at the lowest level since the 1980s
Biden sold off more than 40% of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year to help lower gas prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In total, the White House tapped the reserve four times last year, including when Biden ordered a record-setting 180 million barrels of oil released from the reserve.
In the fall of 2021, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole was critical of the President’s decision, saying the Reserve is supposed to be used during genuine national emergencies and not as a mechanism to reduce the price of gasoline.
“If the Biden Administration wants to lower gasoline prices, it should end its war on the American oil and gas industry,” he said at the time.
Then in March of 2022, Cole again criticized Biden’s use of the Reserve after the White House announced it would release up to 180 million barrels of oil in a continuing attempt to lower gas prices.
“President Biden’s decision to release more oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is misguided, reckless and completely irresponsible,” stated Cole in a press release. “The answer is to unleash domestic energy production to supply more oil and gas.”
Congressman Cole followed it with more critical comments just last month.
““Now, as war breaks out in the Middle East, the depletion of our emergency oil supplies to the lowest levels since the 1980s presents a unique threat to our nation, our longest ally Israel and partners around the world,” expressed Cole in his message to constitutents.
As of Nov. 24, the reserve had 351 million barrels which is near the lowest level since 1984….down nearly 630 million barrels at the beginning of 2020.