US suspends plans to buy oil after funding is left out of $2 trillion stimulus package


A drilling crew member on an oil rig in the Permian Basin near Wink, Texas. 

Nick Oxford | Reuters

The U.S. Department of Energy is suspending its plans to buy crude for the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve after the requested $3 billion in funding for the project was left out of the $2 trillion stimulus package.

“Given the current uncertainty related to adequate Congressional Appropriations for crude oil purchases associated with the March 19, 2020 solicitation, the Department is withdrawing the solicitation,” an amendment filed Wednesday said. “Should funding become secure for the planned purchases, the Department will reissue the solicitation,” it added.

The original request for proposal, filed on March 19, outlined plans to purchase the first 30 million barrels of American-made crude oil for the SPR out of a total of 77 million barrels.

But funding to execute the plan was left out of the $2 trillion stimulus package which the White House and Senate agreed to Wednesday night, and which the House is expected to vote on on Friday. Initially $3 billion had been requested for the project. 

Following the bill’s passage in the Senate, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an email to senators that the revised version of the bill “eliminated [a] $3 billion bailout for big oil.”

The Department of Energy is still hoping for some kind of deal. “Small to medium size American energy companies and their employees should be provided the same relief being provided to other…


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