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US indicates further oil reserve releases

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Joe Biden, the US President, has indicated that his administration may release further oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to bring down fuel prices.

After announcing the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the SPR, the final instalment of a 180 million barrel release that began earlier in the year, Biden said:

“I told my team behind me to be prepared to look for further releases in the months ahead if needed. We’re gonna continue the responsible use of that national asset.”

Fuel prices in the US have dropped somewhat since they peaked in the summer, but Biden indicated that a “ready and release plan” would try to lower them further, including SPR releases if needed. Like in many other places, high fuel prices have been driving increases in inflation.

Over half of the reserves in the SPR, over 400 million barrels, remain available for future releases, but the SPR will need to be replenished at some point. The current plan is to do this when the benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is trading at around $70 per barrel. This will not only represent good value for taxpayers—it will also help US oil companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil, the makers of the Texaco and Mobil lubricant ranges, to sell oil in a declining market.

The US administration is also keeping its options open for an export ban on certain refined petroleum products due to unusually low inventory levels, especially on the east coast region of the country.

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