Biden Sold Millions Of Barrels Of Strategic Oil Reserves To China. Now, Congress Wants To Ban It

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Congress is looking to ban the sale of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) after the Biden administration sold several million barrels to Chinese companies in 2021 and 2022, according to the text of a newly-released government funding bill.

Lawmakers wrote a provision effectuating the ban on SPR sales to China into the short-term government funding bill released Sunday. The Biden administration tapped into the SPR in 2021 and 2022 to counter high gas prices ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, with nearly six million barrels from America’s key oil stockpiles being sold to Chinese interests.

Legislators will need to pass the spending bill by Friday in order to stave off a partial government shutdown. As of December 2023, the SPR was at its lowest levels in nearly four decades, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (RELATED: ‘That Is Hilarious’: Energy Secretary Cackles When Asked About Rising Gasoline Prices)

The Biden administration released at least 180 million barrels from the SPR in 2021 and 2022 to tame surging retail gas prices at the pump ahead of key midterm elections, so far buying back less than 25 million barrels to offset those releases, according to Bloomberg News. The administration has described its refills as a “good deal” for American taxpayers, even though Senate Democrats ripped the Trump administration’s March 202o proposal to top off the SPR — when prices were a fraction of current levels — as a handout for Big Oil.

Experts have also warned that it could take “decades” to fully replenish the SPR back to its pre-Biden levels because of logistical constraints.

At the time of the releases, critics attacked the Biden administration for depleting the SPR for apparently political reasons despite the SPR’s intended use as a crucial reserve for times of war or other crises.

The 2021 and 2022 SPR releases came back into focus after the Oct.7 Hamas terrorist attacks kicked off war in the Middle East, with energy sector experts telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that the administration’s SPR releases left America more vulnerable to the war’s potential shocks to the global energy market.

Neither the White House nor the Department of Energy responded immediately to requests for comment.

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