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Oil Prices Continue to Fall To Levels Not Seen In Weeks

Crude oil prices continued their fall on Tuesday, with WTI now dipping to levels not seen since before the OPEC+ meeting.

The November contract for WTI crude fell to $83.22 per barrel on Tuesday afternoon—sliding 2.64% from Monday. The last time WTI was this low was days before OPEC+ met, when the group decided to cut 2 million barrels per day from its production targets starting in November.

The price dip is in part attributed to talks about releasing more barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves. Initial reports suggested that the Biden Administration could release another 10 million barrels and 15 million barrels from the nation’s SPR. Later reports, however, clarified that the figure discussed was part of the 180 million barrels set to be released between March and October—previously disclosed by the Biden Administration. The oil could be sold this week, and would be the final tranche of the 180 million barrels.

But oil markets are still skittish that the United States could release even more oil from the SPR to counteract high gasoline prices ahead of midterm elections. The United States is congressionally mandated to sell another 26 million barrels of crude from the SPR in the fiscal year 2023, which began on October 1, sparking worry that the US could move to release this in short order, rather than spread out throughout the year.

The U.S. SPR has fallen to 405 million barrels so far this year, from 593 million barrels in inventory at the start of the year, according to official EIA data. It is the lowest amount of crude oil in the SPR inventory since June, 1984.

Aside from the SPR release, another factor weighing on oil prices is the persistent fear of recession, which could sap oil demand.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Lewis Talley on October 19 2022 said:
    Gasoline should be free to anyone over 60. We paid high prices at the pumps all of our working lives when our wages were very low compared to today. I remember paying $0.74 per gallon for regular gas in the middle 1970s (when I was only making $1 per hour), $2.30 in the 1980s and $4.65 in the early and middle 2000s. Then they started fracking, and practically gave it away to the millennials for about 6 years there, from 2014 through 2019. It almost got down to $1.00 a gallon again for those newbies getting about 3X the minimum wage we got. And most places pay them even more to start since all this Covid hype came along. With our lower wages, we supported the oil companies (albeit involuntarily) and kept them afloat while struggling to pay for our basic necessities. For example, a good pair of blue jeans cost $14 in 1977, $13 now at Costco. Most of the runaway inflation back then was tied to increases in fuel prices, or, at least, that's the story we got from mainstream media, whether lies or truth. So like I said, anyone over 60 deserves free gas for the rest of their life!
  • George Doolittle on October 18 2022 said:
    Oddly cool and sunny weather across near all of the USA but particularly Florida which is in the midst of a massive rebuilding effort and being forced to rethink certainly car culture in a huge way (though not truck culture.) Also Florida might be forced to push through major changes in building codes standards because of Hurricane Ian combined with a deflation(ongoing) in Housing. Specifically the volumes of USA Americans now taking public transportation are starting to soar and that includes Florida now too but even Cities such as Denver.

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