Biden to release an additional 15 million barrels from his strategic reserve: NPR


President Biden, seen here in Washington on Tuesday, will announce the release of an additional 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Wednesday.

Evan Vucci/AP


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Evan Vucci/AP

Biden to release an additional 15 million barrels from his strategic reserve: NPR

President Biden, seen here in Washington on Tuesday, will announce the release of an additional 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on Wednesday.

Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden will announce on Wednesday that he is authorizing the release of an additional 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The draw completes the US plan announced earlier this year to release a total of 180 million barrels.

Senior administration officials told reporters Tuesday that the additional 15 million barrels will be released in December. It aims to ensure that there is enough oil on the market to ensure that gasoline prices do not rise, regardless of the actions taken by Russia and other big players. OPEC+ has announced its intention to cut production in November by 2 million barrels per day, although it is not clear how quickly this reduction could materialize. Biden, who had visited Saudi Arabia over the summer to improve relations, was frustrated and warned of the “consequences” for Saudi Arabia of the move.

Biden’s expected announcement comes just weeks before the midterms where inflation – including the price of gas – has emerged as the major issue for voters. Polls show the issue negatively affecting Democrats though Biden and others have tried to shift the conversation in recent weeks and months to abortion access and the fate of democracy.

The White House’s announcement earlier this year to withdraw a total of 180 million barrels from the SPR, which is now at its lowest level in four decades, was criticized by Republicans as a political decision before the midterms – though an administration official said the move resulted in the average driver saving about $60 a month from peak prices in June.

The official also said that while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine continues to affect the cost of crude oil, the Energy Ministry still has a total of 400 million barrels in its reserves.

“The Department of Energy remains very capable, very vigilant, if we have to face additional challenges with supply, with affordability, then we will have an additional opportunity with the SPR if we have to make more sales in the future beyond this December period,” another senior administration official told reporters.

The Biden administration has said it plans to replenish reserves as soon as oil prices fall to between $67 and $72 a barrel. US crude prices are around $82 a barrel.

“We are preparing for the future and doing so in a manner that is responsible from a taxpayer perspective and constructive for our domestic producers,” the second official said.

The president will also ask oil companies to do their part to keep prices low, the official said.

“The profits that energy refiners are now making on every gallon of gasoline are about double what they typically are at this time of year, and the low sellers’ margins on the refinery price represent more than 40% of this tax level,” the second official said. told reporters. “Outside industry profit margins relative to normal add more than 60 cents to the average price of a gallon of gasoline and have kept pump prices higher than they should be as oil prices have fallen.

The president will tell businesses that it is wrong to keep profit margins so high in times of war and will ask those businesses to pass the savings on to consumers. The oil companies rejected this idea.


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