U.S. To Release 50 Million Barrels Of Oil From Strategic Reserve

by The Chicago Times Staff

November 23, 2021

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve on Tuesday in collaboration with India, the United Kingdom, and China.

The Biden administration’s decision is directed at global energy markets facing increasing inflation and rising gas prices, which Americans have taken note of.  According to the American Automobile Association, gasoline prices are around $3.40 per gallon, which is more than 50% more than a year ago.

In December, the government will begin releasing barrels into the market, yet the effort will most likely not lower gas prices as Americans begin to travel for the holiday season.  Gasoline typically responds to increases in oil prices with a lag, and administration officials hinted that this is one of several stages toward eventually lowering costs.

The dumping of oil into the market by the United States and collaborating nations could risk provoking retaliation from OPEC nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, and Russia.  Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have made it apparent that they want to curb supplies in order to maintain prices high for the foreseeable future.

Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming was among those who slammed Biden’s remarks. The fundamental issue, according Barrasso, is the Biden administration’s restrictions on domestic production.

“Begging OPEC and Russia to increase production and now using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve are desperate attempts to address a Biden-caused disaster.  They’re not substitutes for American energy production.” Barrasso said.

Republicans have chastised the government for inflation reaching a 31-year high in October. The consumer price index increased 6.2 percent year on year, the largest 12-month increase since 1990.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky blasted the Biden administration, claiming that the victims of higher costs were middle-class Americans.  McConnell and other GOP leaders believe that Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in March pumped too much money into the economy, driving up prices and harming middle-class and lower-income households.   

“Housing, transportation, and food were the three biggest drivers of the staggering 6.2 percent inflation rate we logged last month.  Those are not frills; they are necessities.” McConnell stated.

The Department of Energy will release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in two ways, according to the White House: 32 million barrels will be released in the next months and will be returned to the reserve in the coming years.  Another 18 million barrels will be sold as part of an oil auction authorized by Congress.