The Biden administration sold roughly one million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese state-controlled gas giant that continues to purchase Russian oil, a move the Energy Department said would "support American consumers" and combat "Putin's price hike."
Biden's Energy Department in April announced the sale of 950,000 Strategic Petroleum Reserve barrels to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation. That company, which is commonly known as Sinopec, is wholly owned by the Chinese government. The Biden administration claimed the move would "address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump" and "help lower energy costs." More than five million barrels of oil released from the U.S. emergency reserves, however, were sent overseas last month, according to a Wednesday Reuters report. At least one shipment of American crude went to China, the report said.
The Biden administration also claimed the Unipec sale would "support American consumers and the global economy in response to Vladimir Putin's war of choice against Ukraine" and combat "Putin's price hike." But as the war rages on, Unipec has continued to purchase Russian oil. In May, for example, the company "significantly increased the number of hired tankers to ship a key crude from eastern Russia," Bloomberg reported. That decision came roughly one month after Unipec said it would purchase "no more Russian oil going forward" once "shipments that have arrived in March and due to arrive in April" were fulfilled.
The White House did not return a request for comment. Its decision to sell barrels from the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese conglomerate comes as the American public increasingly sours on Biden's energy policies. According to a January Gallup poll, roughly three in four Americans are not satisfied with the federal government's national energy policy, the highest level in roughly two decades.
Power the Future founder Daniel Turner admonished Biden for selling "raw materials to the Communist Chinese for them to use as they want."
"We were assured Biden was releasing this oil to America so it could be refined for gasoline to drive down prices at the pump. So right off the bat, they're just lying to the American people," Turner told the Washington Free Beacon. "What they're saying they did and what they did are not remotely related."
Turner also said the decision highlights the Biden family's "relationship with China." Biden's son, Hunter Biden, is tied to Sinopec. In 2015, a private equity firm he cofounded bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing. Sinopec went on to enter negotiations to purchase Gazprom in March, one month after the Biden administration sanctioned the Russian gas giant.
Biden campaigned heavily against the oil and gas industry in 2020, promising to "end fossil fuel." He went on to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and implement a moratorium on new gas leases on federal land during his first month in office. Biden's energy secretary, meanwhile, is working with left-wing activists who want to eliminate fossil fuels, and in late October, House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrats pushed top oil executives to produce less gas due to climate change.
Gas prices have since soared to record highs. In mid June, the national average for a gallon of gas surpassed $5 for the first time ever. Still, the White House has assured Americans that they need to pay high gas prices to support the "liberal world order."
"What do you say to those families that say, 'Listen, we can't afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years?'" CNN anchor Victor Blackwell asked Biden economic adviser Brian Deese in late June. "This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm," Deese responded.