February 01, 2023

Manchin, Cruz and Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Block Strategic Petroleum Reserve Sales to China

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Ted Cruz (R TX), Angus King (I-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Boozman (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rick Scott (R-FL),  Mike Lee (R-UT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act. The bipartisan legislation would prohibit the sale of American crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to any company under the control of the Chinese Communist Party and prohibit the export of any crude oil from the SPR to China.  

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 331-97.

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a vital piece of our nation’s infrastructure that bolsters our energy and national security. While the reserve has been a policy Band-Aid for rising gas prices and the global unrest caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the reserve is, above-all, meant to help the United States and our allies through difficult times, not to help China power its economy. This bill would ensure that we are not risking our energy security by selling our petroleum reserves to China, and the bipartisan support this legislation has received shows just how important it is for America to be energy secure and independent,” said Chairman Manchin.

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was intended to ensure that America had sufficient oil reserves in the event of an emergency. Under no circumstances should we sell any part of this stockpile to the Chinese Communist Party or any company under its control. We need to immediately act to stop this from happening in the future and unleash American energy, and I’m proud to work with my colleagues and Sen. Joe Manchin on this important, bipartisan issue,” said Senator Cruz.  

“America’s energy supply should be used to benefit U.S. consumers and enhance our national security, not exported to Chinese Communists. The Biden administration’s disastrous energy policies have already driven gas prices to historic highs. We need to unleash American energy so we can restock and protect our SPR, help get prices down here at home and ensure we aren’t aiding adversaries at our own security and economic expense,” said Senator Boozman. 

“Our oil reserves should be used to help keep energy costs down for Americans, and kept out of the hands of our adversaries. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in standing up to the Chinese Communist Party by supporting this important bill,” said Senator Hassan.

“Gaining bipartisan support for this commonsense legislation is terrific and a sign that we can come together to put American interests first instead of allowing SPR assets to be sold to the likes of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Senator Hyde-Smith.

“There is no reason why President Biden should be depleting our Strategic Petroleum Reserves and benefitting the Chinese Communist Party when we need to unleash American energy production to compete with China in the long term,” said Senator Braun.

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a powerful tool to protect our national security and limit the influence of oil-rich, autocratic leaders on our democracy. This bill ensures that the SPR will continue to serve Americans and our allies, not the Chinese Communist Party,” said Senator Bennet. 

“This is common sense, bipartisan legislation that would prevent the administration from selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to our adversary China. Instead of draining our strategic reserves, the Biden administration should take the handcuffs off our domestic energy producers so we can unleash more U.S. oil in regions like the Bakken, and make our nation energy secure once again,” said Senator Hoeven. 

“Energy security is a key component of national security, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is vital for the stability and strength of America’s economy and Armed Forces. President Biden has used the SPR reasonably in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but even when deployed as intended, it makes no sense to be sending China the very reserves we’d rely on in a conflict with an adversary. This bipartisan bill is a commonsense step to protect our reserves and strengthen our national security,” said Senator King. 

“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve has one purpose—to supply America in times of crisis. Our bill will ensure that our oil reserves cannot be purchased by any company under the control of the Chinese government,” said Senator Cotton.

“Make no mistake—the biggest fan of President Biden’s radical energy policies is Xi Jinping. Not only has President Biden’s day-one shutdown of U.S. energy forfeited one of America’s greatest strategic advantages relative to China, his administration actually sold a million barrels of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Unipec. The SPR is meant to support our nation through major security crises—not to bail out a President’s catastrophic energy policies or buttress our main global adversary. I’m glad to join Senator Cruz and my colleagues in introducing legislation to bar this administration from selling any more of our emergency energy reserves to China,” said Senator Sullivan.

The full text of the legislation is available here.