Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced the Secure Auction for Energy Reserves (SAFER) Act, legislation that would prohibit Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) sales to China and other countries of particular concern.
“The purpose of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is to limit supply disruptions and insulate our economy from energy shortages,” said Senator Collins. “Given the significant price increases that U.S. consumers have endured over the past two years for gasoline and home heating oil, it is inexcusable that our emergency stockpile of crude oil is being sold to dictators overseas. This legislation would help ensure that oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve only benefits Americans and our allies, not authoritarian regimes with a history of oppressing their people.
“China is profiting from President Biden’s political abuse of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR),” said Senator Barrasso. “Meanwhile, America has become more vulnerable to true energy and national security emergencies. Our legislation will ban SPR sales to China and other hostile nations. It will also ban SPR sales to state-owned companies which purchase oil from Russia, Iran, and other nations the U.S. has sanctioned. Adversaries cannot be allowed to benefit from America’s security reserve.”
On January 12, 2023, the House of Representatives passed similar legislation, Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, by a vote of 331 to 97.
On July 28, 2022, Senators Collins and Barrasso introduced S. 4651, a bill to prohibit the secretary of energy from selling crude oil from the SPR to countries of particular concern, including China. Additionally, the bill would prohibit state-owned entities, which have purchased oil from nations under sanction by the United States, from purchasing SPR products.
Read the text of the SAFER Act here.