The price of a barrel of crude oil rose to about $105 after Russia – one of the world’s top oil producers – attacked neighboring Ukraine without reason.
Now, President Joe Biden says the United States is working with other countries around the world to coordinate the release of additional oil from global strategic reserves. Reuters reports the plan is in its “early stages.”
“We are actively working with countries around the world to elevate collective release from the strategic petroleum reserves of major energy-consuming countries,” Biden told reporters after a statement he made on the conflict. “The United States will release additional barrels of oil as conditions warrant.”
Sources told Reuters they are exploring oil options through the IEA – which is the Paris-based International Energy Agency. They say the agency is ready to tap into the reserve, should world leaders deem it necessary.
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Right now, it’s hard to say exactly what sort of impact these moves will have on oil and gas prices here in the United States. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.54 a gallon. There are currently three states where the average price of a gallon of regular gas costs at least $4.00. California leads the way at $4.77. In fact, the cheapest gas prices in the country can be found in Arkansas, and it’s still $3.20 per gallon.
These crude oil prices are verging on records, too. The last time a barrel of oil broke $105 was 2014, according to CNET.
Logic would dictate that a release of oil reserves would ease some of this pain at the pump, but the Biden administration has not said when something like that would happen – just that the United States is working toward it.
This is not the first strategic release of oil. In November 2021, Washington worked with China and other Asian consumer countries to organize an oil release to combat fast-rising energy inflation.
They report that so far, the U.S. has released about 50 million barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve through sales and exchange. Even though China was involved in the plans, they have mostly held off from releasing oil of their own. Reuters reports the extent China is involved with this new deal isn’t clear.
IEA nations had about 4.16 billion barrels of oil in their reserves at the end of last year. That number included 1.5 billion barrels that are held by governments in emergency reserves, according to the agency.