Less than two years into his presidency, President Biden has released more oil from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve than all previous presidents combined. To date, Mr. Biden has authorized the withdrawal of more than 200 million barrels, or more than 30% of the total reserve he inherited, intended to be used in case of urgent need. The SPR is at its lowest level since 1984, when US oil consumption was significantly lower and the reserve was initially stockpiled. Mr Biden’s rapid exhaustion of the SPR is a national security risk.
Even before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Mr. Biden had aggressively exploited the SPR. There have only been three previous emergency releases: 17.3 million barrels during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, 20.8 million barrels after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and 30.6 million barrels after the military intervention in Libya in 2011.