- by theguardian
- 04 Dec 2022
Joe Biden has called on oil companies to pass on their massive profits to consumers as he announced the release of 15m barrels of oil from the US strategic petroleum reserve.
He called on US oil companies to help. In the second quarter of 2022, the six largest US oil companies reported profits of $70bn, said Biden.
The announcement of the latest oil release speeds up the sale of the last of the 180m barrels that Biden announced in March would be sold. The announcement comes after the oil-producing Opec+ nations said they would cut oil production, driving up prices, in a move that angered White House officials.
Established in 1975 to help mitigate shocks in US oil supply, the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) is thought to be the largest emergency supply in the world. Stored in underground tanks in Louisiana and Texas, the SPR has capacity for 714m barrels of oil and is currently at its lowest level since 1984.
Biden faces political headwinds because of gas prices. AAA reports that gas is averaging $3.87 a gallon, down slightly over the past week, but up from a month ago. The recent increase in prices stalled the momentum that the president and his fellow Democrats had been seeing in the polls ahead of the November elections.
The oil industry would like the administration to open up more federal lands for drilling, approve pipeline construction and reverse its recent changes to raise corporate taxes. The administration counters that the oil industry is sitting on thousands of unused federal leases and says new permits would take years to produce oil with no impact on current gas prices.
Environmental groups, meanwhile, have asked Biden to keep a campaign promise to block new drilling on federal lands.
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