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Biden Admin Selling US Oil Reserves to China, Europe Amid Energy Crisis

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: July 8, 2022
The Biden Admin sold some of the US SPR to the CCP amid the energy crisis and inflation.
Oil pumps near a McDonald's restaurant in Signal Hill, California, on March 9, 2020. As the Biden Administration has drained the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves to their lowest levels since 1985, as much as five million barrels have made their ways overseas, including into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. (Image: DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

The Joe Biden Administration has drained the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to its lowest levels in 35 years amid a gasoline and diesel price crisis that serves as a crucial driver of record inflation, but much of the releases have made their way overseas, including to the Chinese Communist Party.

As a result, the SPR has been drained to its lowest levels since 1985.

On March 31, the Administration announced it would begin dumping 1 million barrels per day from the SPR onto the market in order to supposedly combat “Putin’s Price Hike,” a well known euphemism used by the White House to deflect blame for inflation from Biden and onto Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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The announcement from the White House attributed the rise in gas prices to its own decision to ban imports of Russian oil, stating, “Russian oil coming off the global market would come with a cost, and Americans are seeing that at the pump.”

A July 5 article by Reuters stated that based on “data and sources,” some of which was from U.S. Customs, that SPR product was shipped to Italy, India, the Netherlands, and the Chinese Communist Party to the tune of close to 5 million barrels in all.

According to the Department of Energy, the SPR can hold 714 million barrels at peak capacity and was filled at an average price of $29.70 per barrel.

However, on March 1, the Department of Energy announced, following an emergency meeting of the International Energy Association (IEA), that 30 million barrels would be deployed from the SPR in order to “address significant market and supply disruptions related to President Putin’s war on Ukraine.”

The disbursement would match 30 million barrels released from other IEA countries in an effort to increase supply to bring down global oil prices, which reached a peak of nearly $130 a barrel after the war started.

On April 21, the DOE announced which companies would receive the oil based on a “price-competitive sale” among 16 outlets who submitted 126 bids.

Most prominent among the winners was Unipec America at 950,000 barrels. 

However, despite the name, the company describes itself on LinkedIn as “a wholly owned subsidiary of China International United Petroleum and Chemical Co. Ltd.” and “the trading arm of SINOPEC.”

The Houston-based entity describes itself further, “UNIPEC is China’s largest trading company and one of the world’s leading commodity trading and supply companies.”

March 9 reporting by the Washington Free Beacon points out a potential conflict of interest in the sale, as Hunter Biden met with an executive from the China National Petroleum Corporation in 2011. 

Additionally, Hunter Biden was previously connected to Sinopec via BHR Partners, a private equity firm that purchased a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing in 2015. 

Notably, in a second issuance dated May 24 by the DOE on the winners of the regular 1 million barrel per day average disbursement announced by the White House, the companies receiving the SPR’s cache were obfuscated from the public.

According to data from the DOE, the SPR had been reduced to 492 million barrels as of July 1, showing that 101.8 million barrels had been released this year, with zero replenishment.

Historical data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration going back to 1980 shows that the last time the SPR was under 500 million barrels was in May of 1986.

On July 2, an exacerbated Biden stooped to blaming gas station owners for the price of gasoline on Twitter, “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” he stated.

Adding, “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”