US Strategic Petroleum Reserve Oil Being Sold Overseas Including to China

Over 5 million barrels of oil were sent overseas last month.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), part of the U.S. emergency reserves, is being sold overseas in Europe and Asia.
  • Last month alone more than 5 million barrels of oil were sent overseas, even while U.S. gas and diesel prices hit record highs.
  • The SPR is officially owned by the U.S. government, specifically the U.S. Department of energy, and holds about 700 million barrels of oil for the purpose of assisting in the event of emergency or disruption in oil availability.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy(DOE) explained that “DOE sells SPR oil in a competitive auction to the highest bidder” via a public sale.
  • “Section 161 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) gives authority to the President under specified conditions to direct the Secretary of Energy to conduct a public sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” the DOE’s website states.
RESERVE USAGE:
  • “Together, these releases will put more than one million barrels per day on the market over the next six months, and will help address supply disruptions caused by Putin’s further invasion of Ukraine and the Price Hike that Americans are facing at the pump,” Biden promised in April.
  • At the time, the president announced his plan to release more than a million barrels a day over the next six months from the SPR, releasing over one-quarter of the oil reserves, as part of the plan.
  • Since the April dip into the oil reserves, Reuters reported that at least three vessels carrying crude oil from U.S. emergency stockpiles sailed for Europe in April as refiners there scrambled to replace Russian crude supplies, according to U.S. Customs data, ship tracking, and an industry source.
BACKGROUND:
  • The SPR was created in 1975, after the Arab oil embargo caused a shortage, and is currently at its lowest level in almost 40 years.
  • The Department of Energy offers detailed guidelines for submitting a request for SPR assistance, for those negatively impacted by a shortage of oil.
  • The site outlines what must be submitted in writing to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Petroleum Reserves, along with an email and phone number to contact the appropriate offices.