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OPEC, an economic bloc constituted by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and other countries with a large share of worldwide oil production, recently issued an unexpected reduction in output, causing oil prices across the planet to soar. Brent crude, the benchmark for fuel drilled in the Atlantic Ocean, increased from $79 per barrel on March 31 to $85 per barrel on April 11.
Eberhart commented in an interview with Fox Business that “the train has left the station” with respect to Biden replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stock of emergency crude oil intended to minimize the impact of fuel supply disruptions, since the price of oil is unlikely to fall below $80 per barrel for the foreseeable future.
“I can’t stress enough how missing the window to replace the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is just really bad for our national security and really bad for consumers. The administration has left us completely unprepared,” the oilfield services executive commented. “They had an excellent opportunity when the price was somewhat low and they did nothing. It seems to me we definitely have a Goldilocks scenario for oil exiting 2023 at $100 per barrel or higher. I think that’s inevitable at this point.”
Democratic lawmakers previously criticized former President Donald Trump for attempting to purchase oil at $24 per barrel in order to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Congress blocked the measure amid broader stimulus package negotiations; Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) boasted that his colleagues had nixed a “bailout for big oil.”
Reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre last week about the administration’s response to the move from OPEC, which comes ahead of the busy summer travel months. Jean-Pierre contended that the administration would do “everything that we can to make sure that we lower costs and meet the American people where they are,” asserting that policies enacted by Biden have previously mitigated increases in fuel prices.
Biden has nixed expansions to the Keystone XL pipeline and slowed federal oil lease approvals in the two years since he entered the White House. He meanwhile returned the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty that calls for slashing worldwide emissions in half by 2030, as he encourages a broader transition toward renewable energy.
Eberhart also criticized the administration’s policies for decreasing productivity in his industry. “We’ve got a good economy, we’ve got a high oil price, and yet we’re seeing production lower than it was during the Trump administration” he continued. “Biden has slowed down pipelines, has canceled the Keystone pipeline and others, has canceled the offshore lease program for four new drilling sites. And it’s just made it very, very difficult to drill, and just continues to throw wrenches and sand in the gears of the oil industry. Our production, our drilling is not what it once was. The rig count is also lower. And this is all just constraining supply, and it’s silently sowing the seeds for the next oil price spike which ultimately will be bad for consumers.”