Biden courted oil companies before threatening them with windfall tax

Before President Biden lambasted oil companies for excess profits and threatened to slap a “windfall tax” on them, several of his top energy advisers privately attempted to woo that same industry only to get rebuffed.

Officials from the White House and the State and Energy departments reached out to oil industry trade groups and companies in mid-October to get support for a plan to buy crude to refill the country’s emergency reserves. They told industry representatives their plan would help U.S. oil and gas companies by guaranteeing that the government would purchase oil in months to come if crude prices fell to about $70 a barrel or below.

It was the latest of several attempts by the Biden administration to prompt oil companies to boost output, this time by telling them they could invest with the confidence that the government would help ensure steady revenue. Officials including the National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, and Amos Hochstein, a special presidential coordinator at the State Department, called some of the world’s largest oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated: “Our goal as a nation is to combat climate change and increase our energy security by producing clean and efficient American energy. Under President Biden, oil and natural gas production has increased, and we are on track to hit the highest production in our country’s history next year. He is determined to make sure that this transition helps all Americans in all parts of the country, with more jobs and better opportunities; it’s a commitment he has advanced since Day One. No one will be left behind.”