The Biden administration is planning to release another 10 to 15 million barrels of crude from the strategic petroleum reserve, Bloomberg reported today, citing unnamed sources in the know.
The original SPR release plan is ending soon but US fuel prices are climbing up, which could motivate the additional release.
Analysts have misgivings about it, however. Yesterday, Energy Aspects’ Amrita Sen told CNBC the Biden administration was considering releasing another 100 million barrels from the SPR, which would flood the market.
Sen noted that currently, the US strategic petroleum reserve is being used to keep retail fuel prices down, which is not the purpose it was created for.
Meanwhile, the administration is also talking with oil companies as part of its SPR release plan that, besides lowering prices, is designed to create long-term demand for producers, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
The talks, according to the sources, focus on both the future releases from the SPR and the replenishment of the reserve after the releases are over. The level of inventories at the SPR has declined from 640 million barrels when President Biden took office to 450 million barrels – the lowest in about 40 years.
The biggest portion of this decline came this year, when the White House announced a release of 180 million barrels to counter rising prices at the pump. According to one of Reuters’s sources, the administration could sell another 40 million barrels from the reserve.
“The administration has a small window ahead of midterms to try to lower fuel prices, or at least demonstrate that they are trying,” one unnamed source told Reuters. “The White House did not like $4 a gallon gas and it has signaled that it will take action to prevent that again.”
The average gasoline price in the United States on Monday was $3.888 per gallon, down from $3.919 per gallon a week ago but up from $3.682 per gallon a month ago, according to AAA data.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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