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Democrats scaled back Trump’s efforts to replenish SPR when oil was cheap

In the final months of President Donald Trump’s presidency, the strategic oil reserve was in the spotlight as he tried to replenish it after years of neglect and at a time when oil was cheap.

But Democrats removed it from a bill it was included in, saying it was a blow to Big Oil.

World Oil reported in March 2020:

In recent years, Congress has used the stock as a piggy bank for government programs, and Trump had previously approved its halving, something critics have opposed even as the Shale Revolution allowed the United States to cut back. their dependence on imports.

If the government filled the reserve to capacity at today’s prices, the purchase would cost about $ 2.6 billion and could generate about 430,000 barrels per day of demand over about six months.

“We’re going to fill it to the top – saving American taxpayers billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry,” Trump said at the time.

Roll Call reported on Democrats’ efforts to stop Trump’s plan in March 2020 and take credit for a strike against Big Oil:

The Trump administration’s plan to top up the strategic oil reserve met a blockade on Wednesday after lawmakers excluded $ 3 billion in funding for oil purchases from the massive stimulus package before Congress. Senate Democrats were pleased to have withdrawn this money from the Senate bill, unveiled Wednesday, calling it a “rescue” for the oil industry.

The Department of Energy has solicited bids from small and medium-sized producers to fill the reserve and cushion the fallout from low oil prices after the global market collapsed this month, following Russia’s decisions and Saudi Arabia to continue production. But the DOE would need congressional money to make purchases for the SPR. The ministry has about $ 10 million in its SPR fund. On March 10, the department also announced that it would delay a planned sale of oil from the reserve, citing low prices.

Congress has used the reserve at least four times since 2015 to pay for legislation, including the 21st Century Cures Act, the 2017 tax overhaul, the 2015 bipartisan budget deal, and the New Brunswick highway infrastructure bill. 2015.

Now Biden and the Democrats are trying to use SPR to lower oil prices and, therefore, lower gasoline prices.

But according to the Federal Energy Information Administration, this decision would be far from solving the problem: “In 2020, the United States consumed on average about 18.19 million barrels of oil per day, for a total of about 6, 66 billion barrels of oil. This was the lowest annual level of consumption since 1995. The decline in consumption in 2020 compared to 2019 was the largest annual decline in oil demand in the United States. The decrease is largely the result of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). “

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