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US funding legislation bars China from acquiring oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

In a display of bipartisan unity, the newly revealed funding legislation in the United States contains a provision that prohibits China from procuring oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This inclusion underscores the escalating competition and geopolitical tensions between the US and China.

Driven by bipartisan consensus, lawmakers have made it a priority to address concerns about China’s access to crucial US strategic resources, particularly oil reserves. Several bills have been introduced with the aim of limiting China’s influence in this regard. The issue gained traction following President Joe Biden’s authorization in 2022 to sell 180 million barrels of SPR oil to stabilize gasoline prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Apprehensions arose when a portion of SPR oil was sold to Chinese entities such as UNIPEC America and PetroChina International, prompting calls for legislative measures to restrict such transactions. The SPR, housing over 360 million barrels of oil, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding US energy security. However, recent sales, including those to China, have substantially depleted the reserve to its lowest levels in almost four decades.

In July, the Senate passed a bill with a significant majority, aiming to prevent the export of SPR oil to China. Senator Chris Murphy emphasized the imperative need for decisive action to address strategic vulnerabilities and safeguard US interests.

The extensive funding bill, comprising 1,050 pages, delineates appropriations across various government sectors, including the energy domain. Congressional negotiators aim to swiftly advance the bill through the legislative process, with the House slated to vote on it first.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer underscored the urgency of the situation, urging expeditious action to address critical funding allocations before the impending deadline.


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