The Biden administration’s handling of America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has come under scrutiny from energy experts, who warned against depleting the reserve for political means to reduce gas prices.
The White House, however, dismissed concerns over the re-stocking of the reserve, leaving the nation in a dangerous and vulnerable position on the world stage.
Energy Secretary Opinion on Strategic Petroleum Reserve:
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently revealed that it will take years to re-stock the SPR to its previous levels due to global events hampering re-stocking efforts. America’s emergency oil stockpiles have reached 40-year lows under President Biden as the administration sought to cushion consumers from high gas prices.
Granholm asserted that they intend to replenish the SPR but conceded that a complete refill is unlikely anytime soon. Lawmakers agreed to cancel the planned sale of 140 million barrels through fiscal 2027 and plan to buy 12 million barrels of oil by August, leaving approximately 28 million barrels to reach the re-stocking goal.
However, the Energy Department clarified that they do not intend to refill the reserve back to pre-Biden levels fully. Instead, the focus is on recovering the 180 million barrels from emergency sales through a mix of canceled future sales and new purchases.
The challenges in re-stocking the SPR are numerous. Granholm’s statement that the reserve might not reach pre-Biden levels even under a possible second Biden term raises concerns about the nation’s energy security. As the world faces geopolitical tensions, the U.S. could be left with dangerously diminished oil reserves, potentially compromising its military dominance.
The Biden administration’s plan to re-stock the reserve fell apart due to higher oil prices than anticipated. Refilling the SPR at a higher price would lead to lower profits when the oil is resold later. Waiting for prices to fall poses risks in the event of another oil price shock.
The administration’s opposition to hydrocarbons and focus on transitioning to renewable energy also raises doubts about its commitment to re-stocking the reserve.
The SPR depletion was seen as a political move during the 2022 midterms, aimed at cushioning the impact of high gas prices caused by anti-growth policies and rampant inflation. However, the consequences are now becoming evident, and destructive policies cannot be masked with more bad policies.
A Bloomberg article suggests that re-stocking the reserve may take decades or may never reach pre-Biden levels. The long-term effects of the administration’s energy policies on the country’s energy security are a matter of concern, and reversing the impact of Biden’s energy decisions may take 30 years or more.
Overall, the Biden administration’s handling of America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve has raised serious questions about national security, energy policies, and the ability to re-stock the reserve to ensure the country’s energy security.