“This is a moment of consequence and peril for the world, and pain at the pump for American families,” Biden said at an event at the White House.
“It’s also a moment of patriotism,” Biden said, as he asked oil company executives to serve their customers and American families, instead of the investors they have rewarded with billions of dollars in dividends.
He also called on Congress to make companies pay a fee if they are sitting thousands of unused oil and gas leases and wells on public lands.
Biden’s 180 million-barrel release is equivalent to about two days of global demand, and marks the third time Washington has tapped the SPR in the past six months.
It will more than cover oil exports to the United States from Russia, which Biden banned this month. Russia typically produces about 10% of the world’s crude, but only accounts for 8% of U.S. liquid fuel imports.
But the release will fall short of a loss of about 3 million bpd of Russian oil which the International Energy Agency estimates will be caused by Western sanctions and as global buyers avoid the oil.
Biden also called on U.S. oil companies to drill more, and for boosts in production of electric vehicles and batteries.
The Biden administration has worked with allies in the IEA in recent weeks to coordinate releases which will bring the total volume to global markets to well over 1 million barrels per day, the official said.
The IEA, the world’s energy watchdog, may announce a release when its 31 member states meet today.
The group, representing industrialized nations including the United States, but not Russia, presided over the fourth coordinated oil release in its history on March 1 of over 60 million barrels of crude –its largest yet. The U.S. portion of that release was about half of the total.