Advertisement

Biden Ripped For Lowering Strategic Petroleum Reserve Amid Spiking Prices As Israel-Hamas War Rages

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden’s decision to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year as gasoline prices spike — and then to delay refilling it — is coming back to haunt him now that Israel and Hamas are locked in the most deadly conflict in the Middle East in decades.

The war threatens to bring Iran into the mix, after several U.S. analysts speculated that Hamas, which is funded by the Islamic Republic, likely got the “green light” from Tehran to launch its attack over the weekend. And if that were to happen, oil prices would spike since Iran is a leading global supplier.

In fact, prices have already risen some 4 percent in the days since the conflict began, which has put a new light on Biden and his reduction of the SPR to its lowest level in decades.

Fox News reported:

Advertisement

On Monday, the Brent crude index, the worldwide oil benchmark, and the U.S. WTI index both surged more than 4% and inched closer to $90 a barrel as a result of volatility created by the Middle East crisis. According to analysts, the conflict — triggered over the weekend after a series of unprovoked attacks by Palestinian militants on Israelis — may lead to large amounts of global oil supplies being withheld.

“If the conflict envelopes Iran… up to 3% of global oil supply is at risk. And if a wider conflict eventuates that ends up impacting transit through the Strait of Hormuz, around 20% of global oil supply could be held hostage,” energy analyst Saul Kavonic said in an interview with Reuters.

“Timing is everything and the attacks almost certainly postpone any Saudi-Israeli rapprochement, along with any high probability expectation of Saudi Arabia reducing or eliminating its extra 1 million [barrel per day] cut if prices resume their recent fall,” analysts with Citibank added in a note.

The SPR “contains an emergency oil supply and was established for emergency scenarios,” Fox News noted, adding that the current president has reduced it “to its lowest level in four decades.” Currently, the reserve has 351.2 million barrels of oil, which is 44 percent lower than in January 2021 when Biden took office. It’s also the lowest level since September 1983, prior to this year.

Advertisement

“Since taking office, Biden has ordered the Department of Energy to release a total of about 260 million barrels of oil stored in the SPR to combat high fuel prices that hit consumers in late 2021 and mid2022,” Fox News reported. “While the administration has recently initiated the process of refilling the emergency reserve, Republican lawmakers and energy experts have warned its actions make the U.S. vulnerable to short-term supply shocks.”

Also, Biden ordered the stocks reduced while at the same time, his administration has prevented the fossil fuel industry from obtaining new leases to drill and shutting off millions of acres of federal land for development.

“There are a lot of reasons why the Biden administration should not have used the SPR to try to bring down prices — one of which is that the SPR then isn’t available if something serious happens. We’re facing that right now,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital. “The point was for the nation to have an emergency oil supply.”

Advertisement

“And it’s especially foolish given the backdrop of this administration’s hostility to domestic oil production,” he added.

Earlier this year, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) requested that the Government Accountability Office launch an investigation into whether and how the SPR releases could threaten national security.

“DOE’s mismanagement of the SPR has undermined America’s energy security, leaving the nation more vulnerable to energy supply disruptions, and increasing the ability for OPEC and Russia to use energy as a geopolitical weapon,” the Republican leaders wrote.

Advertisement
Test your skills with this Quiz!