As we detailed earlier in the week, the latest weekly release has pushed the SPR below the 500 million barrels mark for the first time since 1986…
And as the chart above shows, the plummeting SPR is not having the impact on prices that President Biden hoped (which explains why he is blaming everyone and everything else for the rise in gas prices – as it becomes clear it’s a refining capacity issue as much as anything else).
While that is ominous by itself, we note that in the context of US demand, it is even more of a concern as based on the latest Department of Energy estimate of Implied Crude Demand, there is just 27 days of supply left in the emergency oil reserve… a record low…
“Congress has been irresponsibly selling the SPR down,” said Bob McNally, who in the early 2000s oversaw the Energy Department’s efforts to replenish the SPR under former President George W. Bush, adding that “draining the reserve leaves the country and the world more vulnerable to geopolitical shocks.”
Finally, we note that in response to growing concerns about the depleted reserve, the Department of Energy revealed plans to replenish emergency stocks.
This fall, it will launch a buyback process to repurchase 60 million barrels of oil, or one-third of the six-month 180-million-barrel emergency release.
As Andrew Moran writes at The Epoch Times, although the White House is exploring multiple avenues, such as urging OPEC to open the taps and pushing gasoline stations to diminish the pain at the pump, the best solution is greater North American output, says Tortoise Senior Portfolio Manager Rob Thummel.
“The best solution remains increasing oil and natural gas production from reliable supply sources like U.S. and Canada that will assist in balancing the global energy markets and reduce the geopolitical risk premium embedded in global oil and natural gas prices resulting in lower prices at the pump,” Thummel stated during a recent TortoiseEcofin QuickTake podcast.
Biden announced last week that he is encouraging Congress to lift the 18-cent federal gas tax for three months…
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