November 14, 2022

Two-Faced Joe Attacks the Oil Industry

Taking a page out of the authoritarian playbook, Joe Biden is demonizing the energy industry after having hobbled it.

Here’s a shocker: Before Joe Biden attacked the nation’s oil and gas producers as being war profiteers worthy of a windfall profits tax, he tried to court those very same companies to help refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

White House officials, along with representatives from the State and Energy departments, reached out to several energy companies and trade groups in mid-October with a plan to buy oil from them to top off the reserve, which is now at half its 714 million-barrel capacity. The administration would guarantee purchase when the price of crude reached the $68- to $72-per-barrel threshold, paying up front for future delivery.

The White House claimed the plan would help stabilize the market and prevent potential gluts that send prices plummeting and put smaller energy producers out of business. The industry collectively nixed the idea because it couldn’t see the logic of it, mainly because there wasn’t any logic. The plan is too narrow to have any major effect on prices. There are also broader forces at work determining price levels, including international production and global factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war — not to mention Biden administration restrictions on domestic production. Those within the industry don’t trust Joe Biden. And who can blame them?

Biden has been at war with oil and gas producers since the day he took office. He immediately axed the Keystone XL pipeline, which had been approved and was ready for construction. His administration also put a chokehold on drilling permits and licensing for new refineries. He was handed an energy-independent American economy for the first time in decades. And what did he do with it? He replaced it with record-high gas prices and put us at the mercy of international oil cartels that love nothing better than to stick it to us.

Biden’s response to the oil industry’s rejection of the deal was to go on the attack. At an October 31 press conference, he shamefully labeled the companies as war profiteers. He also threatened to impose a windfall tax based on reports in the media of record quarterly profits by ExxonMobil and Chevron. Longtime Democrat political hand John Podesta, a climate adviser to the Biden administration, went so far as to say that oil producers are failing to show patriotism.

Much of this was clearly pre-midterm election bluster. Biden and his fellow Democrats were desperate to deflect voter anger over record-high gas and diesel prices from their own failed policies.

“It’s frustrating that a year ago we were being told to stop drilling, and in the past several months, we’ve been beat up for not drilling enough,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Casey Norton. “In actuality, we delivered record production from our U.S. refineries so that we could do our part to help meet demand.”

Biden’s windfall tax threat may be nothing more than that — a threat. There have been several attempts by congressional Dems to push such a tax through in the last couple of years, but the administration has provided little political backing. As for the accusation of war profiteering, the U.S. would actually have to be at war for that one to stick, right?

Biden’s words were probably just politics in the lead-up to an election in which his party faced a drubbing. That drubbing never materialized, but by lashing out in the way he did, Biden only served to heighten the mistrust the energy industry has for his administration. This will make future negotiations much more difficult and price relief for American consumers that much harder to find.

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