Stockpiles have fallen by more than 180 million barrels this year as the Biden administration ordered the release of record amounts of crude oil, supposedly to cool sky-high inflation and rising gasoline prices.
The massive sell-off began in March, when Biden announced that the U.S. would release one million barrels of oil a day for six months as energy prices soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
By early July, around 125 million barrels were already sold off. The White House then announced that the country would release another 20 million barrels in August, with around 18 million having already been released.
Tens of millions of barrels from the Strategic Reserves are going to Asia in record amounts. Buyers from China, India and South Korea have picked up more than 20 million barrels, with most scheduled to arrive in November.
Chinese corporations have received most of the sold-off American oil. Sinopec, a Beijing-based oil and gas corporation, received 5.9 million barrels in total from the SPR.
The company’s latest contract was for 950,000 barrels sold for around $113.5 million. The transactions were made between the Department of Energy and Unipec America, the U.S. trading arm of Sinopec.
Sales to Unipec appear to fall in the lower price range among the government’s successful buyers of the SPR, with the latest contracts showing that oil was sold between $7.95 to $5.6 cheaper than market prices.
It should be noted that Sinopec is a state-owned oil company with extensive ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It has also received billions of dollars of investment money from an equity fund partly owned by Hunter Biden.
The federal government’s contracts with Unipec and other Chinese corporations have been subject to heavy criticism, especially since China was able to announce major cuts to gasoline prices after Biden sent the country millions of barrels of oil from the reserves.
“Biden is draining our Strategic Reserves at an unprecedented rate. This is an abuse of the [SPR], far beyond its intended purpose,” said Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana. “Sending U.S. petroleum reserves to foreign adversaries is wrong, and it undermines our national security.”