US to release 50m barrels of oil to lower energy costs

The UK has also agreed to participate, by releasing 1.5 million barrels of its reserves

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US President Joe Biden has today announced that the Department of Energy will make available releases of 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve to lower gas prices.

Last week, Mr Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible wrongdoing of oil and gas companies over the gas price hikes.

The UK has agreed to participate in the joint voluntary releases of oil reserves, releasing 1.5 million barrels.

China, India, Japan and the Republic of Korea will also take similar action.

A UK government spokesperson told ELN: “As we’ve said before, we will work closely with our international partners to do what we can to support the global economy through the transition following the pandemic.

“That’s why we are joining other countries, led by the US and including China, India, Japan, Korea, in allowing companies in the UK to voluntarily release some of their oil reserves.

“This is a sensible and measured step to support global markets as we emerge from the pandemic. This will be voluntary, not mandatory, if all companies chose to use this flexibility it would release the equivalent of 1.5 million barrels of oil.”

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said: “As we come out of an unprecedented global economic shutdown, oil supply has not kept up with demand, forcing working families and businesses to pay the price.

“This action underscores the President’s commitment to using the tools available to bring down costs for working families and to continue our economic recovery.”

Jamie Maddock, equity research analyst at the investment management firm Quilter Cheviot, said: “Given the rising inflationary environment in the US, the release of strategic oil reserves will provide only temporary relief as it represents around half a day’s global oil demand.”

Brenda Shaffer, FDD Senior Advisor for Energy, said: “Important to note that this Strategic Petroleum Reserve release is coordinated with China and other Asian consumers, but not Europe. In the past, European countries were the main US partners for coordinated reserves.”

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