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4 Dec, 2023 14:03

Biden draining US strategic crude reserves – industry association

The emergency stockpile is currently at its lowest level since 1983
Biden draining US strategic crude reserves – industry association

The repeated release of crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) by the Biden administration has left the national stockpile at its lowest in more than 30 years, according to US Oil and Gas Association President Tim Stewart.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday about the Biden administration’s approach to domestic energy policy, Stewart said the White House had sold off more than 40% of the SPR (180 million barrels) during 2022 in an effort to tame rising fuel prices.

“Originally, the strategic petroleum reserve was designed to address disruptions in the crude supply but not necessarily the high prices,” he said.

Stewart indicated that, prior to last year, the largest release was 31 million barrels during the 1991 US military operation in the Gulf, known as ‘Desert Storm,’ and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster when 30 million barrels were sold. “But 12 months ago, the administration initiated the largest drawdown in our history because they needed to get through an election cycle…”

According to Stewart, US refiners need heavy sour crude that the nation relied on for many decades, but right now the country is producing mostly light sweet crude, and that’s why it has to export so much.

Talking about Washington’s plans to refill the emergency reserve, he stated: “They just need 168 million more to get us back up to the 2021 levels and another 300 million or so to fill it up. So, it’s going to be very expensive and take a long time.”

The large-scale reduction in strategic reserves puts the country’s national security at risk, the expert concluded.

An emergency stockpile of petroleum maintained by the US Department of Energy, the SPR, was established after a 1973-74 oil embargo by Arab members of the OPEC group.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

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