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US considers further release from strategic oil reserves

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Amos Hochstein, a Whitehouse special envoy and the coordinator for international energy affairs, has said the United States is considering further releases of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

The SPR is the largest emergency stockpile of crude oil in the world, with its vast underground caverns being large enough to hold 714 million barrels of crude oil. It was established in 1975 following the oil embargo that interrupted supply in 1973 and 1974.

The US Administration committed in March to releasing 180 million barrels from the SPR, which equates to about a million extra barrels of oil a day hitting the markets. With 67 million barrels having already been released, the SPR currently stands at just under 500 million barrels, according to the latest data, which would be the lowest it has been since 1986. Once the remaining 100 million barrels in the current plan are released, the stockpile will drop below 400 million barrels.

Nevertheless, crude oil prices have continued to increase since the current release’s announcement, hitting consumers at the fuel pumps, so a further release may be warranted, even if it takes the SPR down to a level never seen before.

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