As White House drains oil reserve to near-40-year lows, Biden asks for $500m to modernize system

Biden administration has been withdrawing huge amounts of oil as gas prices have spiked.

Published: November 25, 2022 8:49am

Updated: November 25, 2022 9:07am

The Biden administration is asking Congress for hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to shore up and modernize parts of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve system, a request that comes after the White House has spent months aggressively draining the levels of fuel from the system itself. 

The request, a rider attached to the White House's $38 billion Ukrainian funding package,  would "provide the Department of Energy, Energy Security and Infrastructure Modernization Fund account $500 million for modernization activities of the four Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites," the White House said in the letter.

The funds "would allow the SPR to both maintain operational readiness levels and also alleviate anticipated shortfalls due to supply chain issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and related schedule delays," the request said.

The funding petition comes after months of the Biden administration withdrawing heavily from the SPR in order to address sky-high fuel prices around the country. 

The reserve held around 640,000,000 barrels of petroleum when Biden took office, according to the Energy Information Administration; by last week it had fallen to around 390,000,000 barrels, its lowest level since early 1984. 

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