President Biden has announced the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) due to OPEC+ production cuts. This release completes the 180 million barrel authorization that Biden approved back in March, which was supposed to occur over 6 months, CBS News reports.
The announcement comes just ahead of the midterm elections, and serves as a bid to curb rising gas prices. Biden stated at a White House event that the release is “going to continue to stabilize markets and decrease the prices.” He also blamed Russia’s war on Ukraine for the stark increase in fuel costs, Reuters reports. Russia is a part of OPEC+ — the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — which made the decision to cut oil production.
However, due to the release, the SPR is at its lowest level since 1984 with approximately 400 million barrels. To remedy this, Biden also announced that the government will repurchase crude oil when prices are at or below $67-$72 per barrel using fixed-price contracts. A White House press release details how the re-purchase method will create certainty for future energy requirements and protect taxpayers.
“We are preparing for the future and doing it in a way that’s responsible from a taxpayer perspective and constructive for our domestic producers,” a senior White House official told reporters.