Oil industry exec rips Biden's 'willy-nilly' energy policy, warns of another 'major' crisis in next few weeks
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve continues to be inappropriately 'politicized,' Sommers argues
By Kayla Bailey FOX Business
American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Mike Sommers weighs in on the Biden administration's plan to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at $70 a barrel on 'Mornings with Maria.'
As the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) falls to "dangerously low" levels, American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Mike Sommers issued a warning to the Biden administration that a negligent plan to restore it could trigger another economically painful oil crisis.
"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, unfortunately, has become the strategic political reserve. And we have grave concerns about how it has been so politicized. This is for emergency purposes, not to lower gasoline prices during a time during a political season," Sommers said Friday on "Mornings with Maria." "But I think doing this willy-nilly and doing it in a way that that doesn't make sense for the market we're in, we could be dealing with another major oil crisis here in the next few weeks."
A contractor works on a crude oil pipeline infrastructure at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)
"We're also real concerned, Maria, about how low it has gone. Lowest level since 1984, not necessarily because of market conditions, but because of political concerns," Sommers continued.
The oil industry exec emphasized the absolute importance of refilling the reserve, and doing so with a non-political strategy. The Biden administration plans to halt oil sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve once the price of crude dips to $70 a barrel — a level that should be a "real concern for all Americans."
"The best plan, in my view, is for us not to continue to use it in a way that is for political purposes and rather do it in a market-based way. And if there is an emergency, that's what this is for. And the real concern is that 1984, when it was at the levels that we're in currently, we were using 20% less oil," Sommers told host Maria Bartiromo.
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"As the economy has continued to grow, we're going to need more in the SPR, of course. But let's do this in a way that makes sense for the market. Not that not in a way that does it for political purposes," the CEO continued.
Mike Sommers told FOX Business that the president needs a plan for the SPR that works for the markets. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)
The Biden administration has attempted to convince Americans that the president has issued a surplus of drilling permits throughout the U.S. However, they fail to recognize the difficult and tedious process of issuing a drilling permit, Sommers pointed out.
During a press conference Monday, the Pentagon's spokesman John Kirby argued that the president has issued 9,000 permits for drilling on U.S. federal lands, saying there are "plenty of opportunities" for oil and gas companies to drill. Sommers quickly refuted this declaration.
"This is such a myth, and it's been debunked multiple times, but the administration continues to use it. They make it seem like as soon as you get a lease that you can start drilling on that property. That wouldn't be the environmentally sound thing to do. You have to do a lot of prep work before you actually produce on those federal leases, including getting multiple permits," he argued.
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"The administration should stop talking about these false statistics and instead get these permits approved so that we can continue to produce both on federal lands and in federal waters," Sommers concluded.