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Biden isn’t ruling out more releases from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves, U.S. President’s economic advisor Cecilia Rouse said on Thursday.
The SPR, Rouse added, is still at half of capacity.
President Joe Biden moved in April last year to release 180 million barrels from the nation’s SPR from April to September 2022. At the time the announcement was made, the SPR held more than 564 million barrels of crude oil. Today, that figure has shrunk to 371 million barrels and is the lowest volume in the SPR since 1983.
President Biden had promised to refill the SPR, but a February tender to purchase oil to replenish inventories was canceled by the Administration, which found the bids unacceptable.
The US Department of Energy pointed out at the end of 2022 that it doesn’t make sense to release crude oil from the SPR while they are also trying to fill it. It said at the time that it was looking to cancel or delay sales from the SPR from 2024 to 2027, ostensibly to give the Administration time to replenish.
Crude oil inventories in the United States grew last week by 19 million barrels, swinging commercial inventories back above the five-year average.
Commercial inventories grew by 28 million barrels total throughout 2022, while SPR crude inventories shrank by 221 million barrels. The steep sell-off in strategic stockpiles drew criticism from opponents who argued that the SPR should be saved in case of emergencies, while others lauded the Administration’s efforts to bring down gasoline prices.
OPEC+ managed, however, to throw a wrench into the Administration’s plans by cutting production while SPR inventories were being released, somewhat muting the effects on prices at the pump.
Gasoline prices have come down 3 cents on a year over year basis.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.