Biden Admin Hands Out $500 Million For Oil Drilling In Middle East

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Nick Pope Contributor
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The Biden administration is providing financing for oil development in the Middle East after taking numerous steps to restrict domestic production, according to Bloomberg News.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank — a nominally independent government entity that aims to boost the American economy “by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services” —  approved a $500 million loan guarantee for oil and gas development in Bahrain on Thursday, according to Bloomberg News. The funding follows the Biden administration’s decisions to release the most restrictive offshore oil and gas leasing schedule in American history and cancel seven previously-issued oil and gas leases in Alaska, among other actions intended to rein in domestic oil production.

The Export-Import Bank’s loan guarantee will “increase the production of oil and the availability of gas to meet the future energy demands” of Bahrain, the institution told Bloomberg News. The $500 million of financing was about five times larger than what some lawmakers were anticipating. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Biden Admin Talks Tough On Big Oil, But Gave Them Regular Access To Discuss Key Regulatory Change)

Six Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wrote a Tuesday letter to the Export-Import Bank in which they implored the agency to not move forward with $100 million of financing because of potential negative ramifications for the climate. After the $500 million loan guarantee was announced, Merkley proceeded to describe the Export-Import Bank as a “rogue agency,” according to Bloomberg News.

While the Export-Import Bank is a nominally independent part of the executive branch, President Joe Biden appointed or successfully nominated Chair Reta Jo Lewis, Vice Chair Judith Pryor and board members Owen Herrnstadt and Spencer Bacchus.

In addition to the restrictive offshore leasing schedule and lease cancellations in Alaska, the Biden administration has moved to take millions of acres of federal lands off the table for oil and gas activity after unsuccessfully attempting to halt drilling on all federal lands in 2021. While U.S. oil production did reach record levels at the end of 2023, energy sector experts previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation that those production levels have been reached in spite of the Biden administration’s approach, rather than because of it.

The experts who spoke to the DCNF said this is because most of the growth in production has occurred on state and private lands, where Biden does not have the ability to directly shut down drilling. They added that the oil wells of today are the result of planning and financing decisions made several years in the past.

Neither the White House nor the Export-Import Bank responded immediately to requests for comment.

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