U.S. Energy Security Advisor Amos Hochstein said on Tuesday that the White House would look to refill the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves when oil prices were “consistently” at $70 per barrel, Bloomberg said.
In mid-October, the White House released a fact sheet that outlined the administration's intention to refill the SPR when oil prices were between $67 and $72 per barrel, following the President’s release of 180 million barrels from the SPR to help bring down the price of oil.
According to the White House statement at the time, the Administration was counting on its repurchase of crude oil helping to create some certainty around future crude oil demand, stimulating greater domestic oil production. The United States has added 15 oil-directed drilling rigs since that announcement was made.
Now, however, it seems that the Administration is walking back that plan by clarifying that its repurchase program would begin only when crude oil prices were $70 or below “consistently”.
Hochstein did not say how long prices would need to stay at the level before repurchasing would begin.
Oil prices have been experiencing significant volatility over the past month, with OPEC’s production plans, the EU’s price cap plan and export ban, China’s Covid struggles, and stagnating U.S. production at the center of the volatility.
The amount of crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has declined by 204.3 million barrels so far this year, with the current levels at just 389.1 million barrels—the lowest level since March 1984.
“Refining and refilling the reserve at $70 a barrel is a good price for companies and it’s a good price for the taxpayers, and it’s critical to our national security,” The White House said in October.
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.