Joe Biden was rumored to have sold 950,000 barrels of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese state-owned company in which Hunter Biden’s private equity firm had a $1.7 billion stake.
After the White House claimed their release would help reduce the suffering of Americans at the pump, it was revealed last week that five million barrels of oil had been shipped overseas.
The president was first criticized when it emerged that in June between a fifth and a sixth of the oil reserves he boasted he had freed up to increase supply had really caught on to Europe and Asia.
Then on Friday it was revealed that some of the oil had been sent to a company that had previously been associated with the president’s son.
The 950,000 barrels were sold to Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, the China Petrochemical Corporation.
Sinopec is also linked to BHR Partners, a private equity firm that Hunter co-founded in 2013.
According to The Federalist, BHR bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec in 2015.
Hunter’s attorneys told The New York Times in November that the 52-year-old “no longer holds any ownership interest, direct or indirect” in BHR.
However, according to The Washington Examiner, he was still listed as a co-owner in China’s National Credit Information Publicity System as of March.
It was likely that the records were outdated.
The disclosure will raise more concerns about how the White House is handling the SPR.
Beginning in April, Joe Biden approved the flow of one million barrels per day.
The national average for a gallon of gas on Friday was $4.72, still significantly higher than the average of $2.28 just before he took office. However, the statement did little to stem rising gasoline prices.
In April, Biden announced the release of barrels of oil, saying he would “put more than one million barrels a day on the market over the next six months and help address supply disruptions caused by Putin’s new invasion of Ukraine and the rising prices that Americans are facing at the pump.
A closer look at the announcement reveals that the oil released from the strategic reserve was still going to the highest bidder, even though it was located overseas, so it appears to have had minimal impact.
Although a typical American who heard Biden’s statement in passing would likely have believed that the increased supply would have been aimed at local refineries, driving down US prices, it’s because stringent international restrictions govern the sale and supply of oil.
According to Matt Smith, chief oil analyst at Kpler, “Crude and fuel prices would probably be higher if (the SPR releases) hadn’t happened, but at the same time it doesn’t really have the effect intended”.
Government officials are still defending Biden and arguing that his release would have driven home gas costs even higher.
In a statement, Biden said he had approved the largest-ever release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), bringing an additional million barrels of oil to market every day for the next six months, in mean.
President Biden “demonstrates his unwavering commitment to do everything in his power to ease the pain that American families are experiencing today at the pumps in the wake of Putin’s price hike,” the White House said in a statement. a statement. “President Biden also continues to take strong action — now and without delay — to achieve enduring American energy independence.”
Despite warnings from political analysts that the term “Putin’s price hike” does not resonate with Americans, Biden has frequently used it to blame himself for soaring inflation.
They argue he should feel more sympathy for the economic hardships Americans are going through rather than just trying to distract.
In one-fifth of the country, gasoline and diesel prices are above $5 a gallon, while U.S. oil futures are above $105 a barrel.
On Saturday, Biden reiterated his call for fuel suppliers to lower their prices, drawing criticism from Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.
Bezos said Biden’s remarks revealed a clear lack of understanding of America’s free market system, in which supply and demand always set the price of things.
However, a significant part of the flow is going overseas even as it drains the SPR, which last month fell to its lowest level since 1986.
According to U.S. Customs data seen by Reuters, the fourth-largest U.S. oil refiner, Phillips 66, moved about 470,000 barrels of sour crude from the Big Hill SPR storage facility in Texas to Trieste, Italy.
A pipeline that transports oil to refineries in Central Europe is located in Trieste.
The data showed that French oil giant TotalEnergies subsidiary, Atlantic Trading & Marketing (ATMI), exported two shipments totaling 560,000 barrels each.
A request for comment from DailyMail.com received no response from Phillips 66. A request for response from ATMI received no response.
According to an industry source, shipments of SPR crude were also on their way to the Netherlands and an Indian Reliance refinery.
According to a maritime source, at least one shipment of oil from the West Hackberry SPR site in Louisiana was to be exported in July.
US officials have defended their conduct by saying oil prices could have risen had the SPR not been used.
The most recent exports come after three vessels transported SPR crude to Europe in April, displacing supplies of Russian crude.
With refineries operating near capacity, U.S. crude inventories are at their lowest level since 2004.
Refineries on the US Gulf Coast were operating at 97.9% capacity, the highest level in three and a half years.
After the president tweeted that “companies that run gas stations” should just “lower the price you charge at the pump,” U.S. energy producers fired back at Biden on Monday.
On Saturday, Biden tweeted from his official account at the White House: “This is a time of war and great peril, and my message to companies that run gas stations and set rates at the pump is simple.
Reduce the price you charge for gasoline so that it reflects the price you pay for goods. And now do it.
Working on it, Mr. President, the US Oil & Gas Association countered.
Have a happy 4th of July in the meantime, and make sure the WH intern who wrote this tweet enrolls in Econ 101 for the upcoming fall semester.
Biden has frequently criticized oil companies, saying they primarily consider profits rather than the welfare of the typical consumer.
In response, the companies claim to have increased production in an effort to control prices, although these are determined by the global market and subject to dynamics beyond the control of the American oil majors.