The White House’s Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security has said that the US Administration will not be rushing to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) quite yet. Speaking to Bloomberg, Amos Hochstein made the statement despite declining oil prices in recent times.
The SPR was established to protect the US from disruptions to the supply of oil, but the US Government took the unusual step last year of releasing 180 million barrels of crude oil in an effort to combat spiralling fuel prices following the invasion of Ukraine. At the time, the US Government said it would refill the SPR when prices of benchmark WTI crude oil fell to around $70. This is something that would also help US producers like ExxonMobil, the maker of the Mobil DTE hydraulic oil, in a declining market.
With the WTI price dropping to around $66, Hochstein admitted there was a degree of crunch in the market, but cautioned against expecting any rash interventions:
“We should take a deep breath and wait and see how this crisis right now impacts the oil and gas industry, production and what the profile is. So far prices have come down. We’re watching it very closely, we’ll continue to watch it over the next several days.”
The SPR is currently at the lowest level since the 1980s, although it still holds 371.6 million barrels of crude oil. Nevertheless, Hochstein told Bloomberg that they first needed to establish where prices were going to land before deciding whether the environment was right for making purchases.