The Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) is at its lowest volume since the mid 1980s (see the graph below). This graph comes from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is a Federal Government entity whose parent entity is the US Department of Energy.
In 2020, the price of crude oil was ~$23.57 per barrel. Currently as of November 11, 2022, the price of crude oil is ~$80 per barrel.
This price information was gathered from https://inflationdata.com/articles/inflation-adjusted-prices/historical-crude-oil-prices-table/ which features per month and per year pricing data for crude oil, including inflation adjusted dollar values; as well as marketwatch.com.
On the EIA’s website, in an article dated October 24, 2022, they outline the intention on purchasing petroleum at costs as low as $67 and up to $72 per barrel. (https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=54359):
On October 18 , the DOE finalized a rule laying out how it plans to replenish the SPR. The rule allows fixed-price purchases of crude oil when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is at or below about $67 to $72 per barrel.
In an interview on CNBC, Amos Hochstein, a White House Energy Advisor, explained this plan as well.
In a White House Press Briefing, Karine Jean Pierre answered a question regarding the price discrepancy between the two different events.
“Back in 2020, when Congress was debating funding for replenishing the SPR, Democrats blocked it, saying it was a bailout for big oil,” a reporter said. “Why is it a good deal for taxpayers now?”
“Look, it was a different time,” Jean-Pierre said. “It was not the same situation that we are currently in. The reserve was close to full capacity at that time, and so there was no reason to make that type of repurchase.”
The transcription of the WH Press Briefing can be found on the whitehouse.gov site at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2022/10/19/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-october-19-2022/
The video of the WH Press Briefing in question is below.
In March 2020, the SPR levels were at 634 Million 967 Thousand barrels, which represents a deficit of approximately 14.5% of its capacity at the time. The maximum volume of the SPR is quoted differently in two places on the EIA’s website. One figure says 727 Million barrels, and the other says 714 Million barrels. We have used the 727 Million figure for this calculation.
The SPR barrel count information was gathered from the eia.gov website at: https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCSSTUS1&f=M
This difference in price ($23.57 versus $72) represents an over 200% increase in the price that petroleum will be purchased at, compared to what it would have been purchased at when Trump was in office.
The announcement from the US Department of Energy regarding the Trump purchase of petroleum is viewable at: https://www.energy.gov/articles/department-energy-executes-direction-president-trump-announces-solicitation-purchase-crude
The purchase of the 77 Million barrels of oil at $22 per barrel was stopped by Democrats when they had the $3 Billion purchase removed from the “Corona 3 Emergency Legislation”. This can be viewed on Senator Chuck Schumer’s government website at:
Where he says (among other things):
Since Sunday, Schumer made several significant improvements to the bill Leader McConnell first introduced. Here are some of the improvements:
Eliminated $3 billion bailout for big oil.