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Biden May Cancel SPR Sale: Report

The White House may cancel a scheduled sale of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve this year, Energy Intelligence has reported, citing unnamed sources.

According to the report, the sale concerns 26 million barrels of SPR oil that were scheduled to be sold by September this year. Energy Intelligence notes that these are not sales under the 180-million-barrel release program the White House announced and carried out last year in a bid to stabilize prices at the pump.

These are sales mandated by Congress, and the news of the cancellation follows the cancellation of sales of another 140 million barrels of SPR crude previously planned for the period 2023 to 2027.

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Meanwhile, the administration is hitting back at Congress legislation sponsored by Republicans, aiming to stop the administration from selling oil from the strategic petroleum reserve until U.S. oil production on federal lands increases.

Earlier this week, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the White House would veto the legislation if the House, where Republicans have a majority, passes it. The House is set to vote on the legislation this week, Reuters reported.

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“He will not allow the American people to suffer because of the backwards agenda that House Republicans are advancing,” Granholm told media, referring to President Biden and the Republican SPR sale block bill.

“We would like to curtail use of the SPR for only those situations where there’s a severe supply interruption,” a Republican aide to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said, as quoted by Reuters.

According to Energy Intelligence, however, there will be few opportunities to vote on the Republican bill soon enough to be able to cancel the already scheduled sales. In the meantime, the question remains when the administration will begin replenishing the SPR after the 180-million-barrel emergency drawdown from last year.

In all likelihood, the replenishment would have to wait because WTI just topped $80 per barrel, and that’s quite a bit above the price range set by the White House for the intended replenishment purchases.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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