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The United States will reassess additional releases of crude oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserves, White House Envoy Hochstein said on Wednesday, as the Administration struggles to rein in high prices at the pump.
The Administration has already vowed to release a million barrels of crude oil from the stockpiles every day into the commercial markets. The plan, anounced at the end of March, was to ultimately release 180 million barrels over a six-month period. The plan has so far depleted the nation's emergency crude oil stockpiles 67 million barrels to 497.9 million barrels as of June 24, according to the Energy Information Administration's latest data released today—the lowest level since 1986.
With more than 100 million barrels yet to be released under the existing plan, the nation's stockpiles would be less than 397 million barrels. On June 14, the Department of Energy announced that it would sell 45 million barrels of oil out of the SPR, with deliveries expected to take place between August 16 and September 30.
Releasing even more come October could send the SPR to levels not seen—ever.
While there are a bit less than a million barrels a day heading out of the SPR and into commercial storage, the price of a WTI barrel has continued higher, and is now more than $10 higher than when the release was first announced.
Gasoline prices have risen from $4.231 per gallon on March 28—days before the announcement of the release—to $5.006 per gallon as of June 13, according to the latest information provided by the EIA. AAA pegs the average gasoline price at $4.868 per gallon as of June 29—lower than last week but still higher than before the announced SPR release.
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.