Amos Hochstein, the presidential coordinator for international energy, downplayed much of America’s concerns over the energy crisis and surge in gas prices in the U.S.
The Biden administration announced it would be expanding its efforts by releasing 15 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve. Hochstein claimed the release was part of a previous barrel release and that it would not deplete the stockpile, a concern expressed by many Republicans.
Biden has “been committed to bringing those prices down and this release is just part of that process that’s been going on for months,” said Hochstein to CBS News.
Previously, Hochstein said he expects the private sector to pick up the slack and that they wouldn’t have to do additional emergency releases.
“What the president said is that we’re going to be very watchful to see what happens around the world. There are a lot of geopolitical events,” said Hochstein to CBS News, alluding to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. “We’re going to complete the 180 that he has announced many months ago, as he’s been doing monthly.”
Hochstein said the barrel releases would continue into December, the same month Europe will be imposing a ban on Russian crude imports.
He told CBS News, “We’re also working with Europe and other G7 partners around the world, countries in Asia, to see if we can make sure that we have the Russian barrels on the market, but ensure that the price that, and the revenues that Russia gets, continue to be depressed.”
That price cap led Saudi Arabia to pull 2 million barrels a day off the market. President Biden responded by saying he was going to retaliate against Saudi Arabia.
Hochstein soft-pedaled the OPEC decision saying the 2 million was really cut to 900, then to 500. He said to CBS News, “the impact on the market is not going to be as significant,” and that this was a political statement by OPEC.
He continued, “we’re down over $1.20 in the United States on gasoline. And in fact, we’re now almost every single week for the last several months, we’ve seen a decline in gasoline price in the United States.”
Hochstein remains optimistic, pointing to a deal between Israel and Lebanon allowing for drilling off their coasts. He says it could be finalized as early as Thursday.
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