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Biden Admin Buys Millions Of Barrels To Refill Oil Stockpile After Dems Ripped Trump For Refill Plan At Lower Prices

Photo by Maria Lupan / Unsplash

By Nick Pope, The Daily Caller News Foundation | March 28, 2024

The Biden administration purchased 2.8 million barrels to partially refill the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) at prices significantly higher than prevailing prices when former President Donald Trump proposed to top off the key stockpile in 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced Thursday.

The 2.8 million barrels announced Thursday are part of a wider effort by the DOE to refill America’s emergency oil reserves after the administration released about 180 million barrels in 2021 and 2022 to bring down prices at the pump ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The administration’s refill purchases have cost an average of nearly $77 per barrel, a substantially higher price than the $25 per barrel price at which former President Donald Trump proposed to top off the SPR in the spring of 2020. (RELATED: ‘Out Of Bullets’: Biden Admin Fears The Return Of $5 Per Gallon After They Drained Strategic Oil Reserves)

Senate Democrats, including then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, sharply criticized Trump’s push to fill up the SPR at a low price point caused by the pandemic, referring to the $3 billion initiative as a handout to major energy corporations, according to Roll Call. Biden’s subsequent releases have proven to be approximately three times as expensive on a per barrel basis, though the DOE considers its refill purchases to be a good deal for taxpayers because the average purchase price is about $20 lower than the $95 per barrel sale price of the released reserves.

“DOE set out to refill the SPR at a good price for American taxpayers, and that’s what we’ve delivered. Since refill began, DOE has purchased more than 32 million barrels at an average price of under $77, well below the average sale price of $95 in 2022,” a DOE spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “And it will continue to evaluate market conditions and competitive bids to ensure our SPR continues to meet its mission when called upon.”

As of December 2023, the SPR was at its lowest levels since 1983, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Former DOE officials and other experts have cautioned that it could take decades to refill the SPR to pre-Biden levels.

During the 2021 and 2022 SPR releases, several million barrels ended up being sold to Chinese corporations or interests. Congress moved earlier in March to include a provision in the short-term government funding bill to ban the sale of SPR oil to China and other adversarial nations.

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