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Energy Department buying oil in effort to refill the nation’s crude stockpiles

Should the DOE continue to purchase 3 million barrels per month, it will take eight years to return the reserves back to where they were in January 2021.

Published: November 9, 2023 3:35pm

The Energy Department is looking to buy oil to replenish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the nation’s oil stockpiles, which have been drained under the Biden administration to their lowest point in 40 years.

The department Monday issued a request to buy 3 million barrels of oil to be delivered in January. The notice also states the target purchase price is $79 per barrel or less – which would be less than the average of $95 per barrel the department sold the oil for when it was releasing reserves.

In October, the department announced it intended to purchase 6 million barrels for delivery in December and January, making Monday’s request the second of two purchases of 3 million barrels per oil issued so far. The October announcement also stated the department would issue monthly purchases through May.

In October 2022, the White House announced it would begin tapping the nation’s reserves to bring down the high costs of gasoline, which it blamed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Critics have argued it was the Biden administration’s policies that kept supply from meeting demand and that the president has compromised national security by draining the county' strategic reserves.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN in July her department would begin refilling the supply, with the goal of replenishing it by the end of President Joe Biden’s second term in office.

The reserve held about 640 million barrels when Biden took office, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it now holds about 350 million barrels.

Should the DOE continue to purchase 3 million barrels per month, it will take eight years to return the reserves back to where they were in January 2021.