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House Republicans have accused U.S. President Joe Biden of misusing the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter OPEC+’s move to cut its oil production and to lower gasoline prices ahead of the midterm elections.
In a letter sent by Republicans sitting on the House Oversight Committee, House Republicans sent a letter this week to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm demanding that the Administration explain its March decision to release 180 million barrels of crude oil from the nation’s emergency reserves, according to the Daily Mail, who obtained a copy of the letter.
The letter also detailed further concerns that the Administration could ban exports of oil and gas.
“We are concerned that the president may soon impose an oil and gas export ban that will result in even higher gas prices, supply chain issues, global market upheaval, and reduced energy security for the US and our allies,” the letter read in part.
SPR inventories in the United States have fallen by more than 236 million barrels since the beginning of Joe Biden’s term in office, sinking the amount in inventory to the lowest levels since May of 1984. Meanwhile, average retail gasoline prices have increased by about $1.50 per gallon during that time.
The Biden Administration has struggled with the price at the pump, which when high, often sways votes away from the President’s party. President Biden has lobbied OPEC+ and Saudi Arabia specifically to increase production to alleviate those high prices, but OPEC+ recently moved to cut its production targets by 2 million bpd.
The White House has defended the actions to release oil from emergency stockpiles by stating that the President “is committed to doing everything in his power to respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the pump,” pointing out that “Gas prices fell at the fastest rate in over a decade this summer.”
The letter asked Granholm to turn over any relevant communications about the SPR. “In order to ensure the American people that the Biden Administration is properly managing the sale of critical assets from the SPR and not supporting Russia by providing oil to China, we request a briefing and documents related to this matter,” the letter read.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.