WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is preparing to order the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve, according to two people familiar with the decision, in a bid to control energy prices that have spiked as the U.S. and allies have imposed steep sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine
The announcement could come as soon as Thursday, when the White House says Biden is planning to deliver remarks on his administration’s plans to combat rising gas prices. The duration of the release hasn’t been finalized but could last for several months. To preview the outcome of the discussion, the people spoke under the condition that they remain anonymous.
Biden faces a problem because of high oil prices. His popularity has plummeted since February’s inflation spiked to a forty-year high and petrol prices soared after Russia invaded Ukraine. On Wednesday, crude oil traded for nearly $105 per barrel, an increase of $60 from a year earlier.
According to the Dallas Federal Reserve survey, however, oil producers are still more concerned with meeting investors’ needs. About 59% of the executives surveyed said investor pressure to preserve “capital discipline” amid high prices was the reason they weren’t pumping more, while fewer than 10% blamed government regulation.
This steady release would represent a substantial sum, and close to closing the domestic production gap relative February 2020.
In November, the Biden administration announced that 50 million barrels had been released from its strategic reserve. This was in coordination with other nations. The U.S. agreed with thirty other countries to release an additional 60 million barrels of strategic reserve oil after the Ukrainian conflict. Only half of that amount was from the U.S.
According to the Department of Energy (which manages it), more than 568,000,000 oil barrels were in the reserve at Mar. 25.
News of the administration’s planning was first reported by Bloomberg.
—This report was contributed by Michael Balsamo, an Associated Press journalist
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