The U.S. Senate voted this week to block China from purchasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which stands at a 40-year-low following the Biden administration’s 180M barrel drawdown last year.
The legislation – an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act – would ban the sale of U.S. oil to any company under control of the Chinese Communist Party, or to Russia, Iran, North Korea or any country sanctioned by the U.S.
The amendment is similar to a bill the Republican-led House of Representatives approved in January, meaning the bill’s language has a strong chance of becoming law.
Fewer than 2M barrels of the 180M pulled from the SPR last year were purchased by a Chinese company; U.S. companies sold 83M barrels of crude to China last year, which would be unaffected by the bill.
The move comes amid concerns that the Biden administration has not acted quickly enough to refill the reserves, sparking national security fears.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said earlier this month that the administration might not be able to refill the SPR during President Biden’s current term.
More analysis on crude oil: