One million barrels a day: Biden releases historic amount of oil reserves

One million barrels per day
Biden releases historic amount of oil reserves

Higher gasoline prices in the US for years are increasing the pressure on US President Biden. Therefore, during the next six months, significant amounts will flow from the strategic oil reserves. To reduce dependence on Russia, he also takes responsibility for domestic production.

Due to the high price of oil as a result of the Ukraine war, the US will release one million barrels a day from its strategic oil reserves for six months. US President Joe Biden said the more than 180 million barrels were “by far the largest release from our national stockpile in our history.” With the measure, Biden wants to depress the sharp rise in oil and gasoline prices, which are also hurting him politically.

“This is a wartime bridge to increase oil supply until (the United States) production picks up later in the year,” Biden said in a televised address at the White House. “This will provide a historic amount of supply for a historic duration. A six-month bridge to the fall.” At the same time, the president of the United States called on US oil companies to boost domestic production. Corporations should not “sit on record profits.”

Biden wants to ease the “pain” at the gas pumps

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Congress must ensure that oil companies pay fees if they don’t use production permits on public land. His plan will ensure that the “pain” families feel from high gasoline prices at the pump is alleviated and that the energy “era of dependency and insecurity” ends, the president promised. Other countries would also release additional oil and thus ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot use his energy resources as a weapon against American families and democracies around the world.”

Fuel prices in the US have risen sharply recently due to high oil prices. They average $4.23 per gallon (one gallon equals just under 3.8 liters), up 47 percent from a year ago. Petrol prices and consumer prices in general have already risen sharply over the past year as the country recovers from the economic impact of the corona pandemic. This was later reinforced by the deployment of Russian troops to the Ukrainian border and the war of aggression that began on February 24. Furthermore, on March 8, as part of the sanctions policy against Moscow, Biden imposed a ban on the import of Russian oil, which also led to an increase in prices.

Political pressure before the congressional elections

Rising gasoline prices and inflation, most recently at 7.9 percent, a 40-year high, are hurting Biden and his Democratic Party ahead of key midterm congressional elections in November. In polls, many voters cite inflation as America’s biggest problem. In many gas stations, next to the price screen, there are stickers with a photo of Biden and the phrase: “I did that.”

Democrats must fear losing their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives to Republican opposition in November. Biden has promised to support families in the face of price increases, and is now counting on the massive release of strategic oil reserves, among other things. A US official said the oil “could be on the market very soon”.

Biden announced the release of oil from reserves last year and then again in early March, but on a much smaller scale. On Wednesday night, the US media reported that Biden wants to release a million barrels of oil per day. That alone led to a significant drop in prices. One barrel equals 159 litres.

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