The Biden administration’s move to sell nearly 1 million barrels of oil from the U.S.'s strategic reserve to China “defies all common sense” and benefits U.S. adversaries at the cost of national interests, Republican lawmakers said, with some calling the action "impeachable."
The sale, though little noticed at the time, has sparked heavy backlash from Republican lawmakers. As the U.S. SPR, the world’s largest emergency supply of crude oil, tanks to a historic low while Americans nationwide feel the pinch of soaring gas and diesel prices, such a move runs counter to U.S. interests and is putting national security at risk, the lawmakers said.
Reps. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and Mike Loychik (R-Ohio) described the Biden administration's sale of oil to China as "impeachable."
Hunter Biden TiesThe Unipec contract was worth $98.135 million, an April 21 report by the Department of Energy shows. Unipec was one of 12 companies that won contracts in the Department of Energy's second emergency sale, totaling 30 million barrels.
The department described the action as a step to “address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump” and to “lower costs for Americans into the future.”
Sinopec is connected to Hunter Biden through BHR Partners, a private equity firm that the younger Biden helped to set up. The firm invested a combined 10 billion yuan (roughly $1.5 billion) in Sinopec in 2014.
Hunter was an unpaid board member of BHR until April 2020 and held a 10 percent stake in the company but was divested as of November 2021, his lawyer told The New York Times.
‘Utterly Failed This Country’More than 5 million barrels of oil from the emergency reserve were exported to Europe and Asia in June, with at least one shipment to China, according to a Reuters report.
“The Biden administration’s energy policies have utterly failed this country,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) told The Epoch Times. “From the administration’s unwillingness to unleash American energy, to shipping our limited reserves, to adversaries with ties to Hunter Biden, their decisions have ended American energy independence.
“Gas prices sit at historic highs, inflation continues to climb to unprecedented levels, and this administration continues to deflect their failures and blame everyone but themselves. The Biden Administration doesn't have solutions because they don't realize they're the problem.”
When asked on July 8 about whether the Biden administration was aware that some of the oil from the SPR could end up going overseas, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the Department of Energy “can’t dictate what oil companies do with the oil they purchase or where they ship it to sell.”
Dwindling Oil ReservesThe U.S. SPR was sitting at 492 million barrels as of July 1, marking a drop of 5.8 million barrels from one week prior. That's the lowest level since April 1986. With the U.S. consumption of 19.78 million barrels each day, based on 2021 estimates by the Energy Information Administration, the current petroleum reserve could last fewer than 25 days.
The crude inventory has been on a continued decline since the administration began releasing 1 million barrels per day in April, in a six-month initiative meant to lower energy prices.
The depleting oil reserve, normally reserved for emergencies such as natural disasters and wars, is raising alarms in Washington.
“The American people deserve answers as to why our emergency energy reserves are being sent to foreign adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party, compromising our energy security and national security,” McMorris Rodgers told The Epoch Times.
The Department of Energy has yet to provide an answer, the lawmaker noted.
“What do they have to hide? President Biden needs to remember that our strategic energy reserves are for emergencies, not to cover up bad policies,” she said. “America needs to flip the switch and increase our capacity to produce and refine oil here at home.
“Now isn't the time to use our strategic stockpile.”
Department of Energy officials didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Time for details of the China shipment and the Unipec contract. The White House also didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment.