US to Release 1 Million Barrels of Oil a Day From Strategic Reserves Over Next Six Months
14:48 GMT 31.03.2022 (Updated: 15:17 GMT 31.03.2022)
Earlier in March, the Biden administration announced a total boycott of petroleum products from Russia, the world's largest exporter, in retaliation for Russia's special operation in Ukraine.
The White House announced on Thursday it would begin releasing 1 million barrels of oil per day from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the largest such release in US history. The release will last for the next six months, totaling roughly 182 million barrels of oil.
The reserve's capacity is 727 million barrels, according to the US Department of Energy, spread out in storage facilities across the United States.
The White House said the goal of the historic release was to bring down gas prices, noting it will take months for additional oil production in the US to come online. A senior administration official told reporters that the US would restock the reserve when oil prices are lower.
The decision comes as petroleum prices on international markets remain at elevated levels, with Brent Crude trading at $108.6 per barrel on Thursday. In the US, gasoline prices have also spiked, averaging $4.26 per gallon across the United States on Thursday, according to the American Automotive Association (AAA).
On March 8, US President Joe Biden announced the US would boycott Russian petroleum in response to Russia launching a special "neutralization" operation in Ukraine. Oil prices had already risen sharply in anticipation of the operation, the disruption it would cause to Russian gas exports, and the retaliation threatened by the West if the operation went ahead.
Biden has billed the price increases as "Putin's Price Hike," although a Quinnipiac poll released last week found that 41% of Americans surveyed held Biden responsible for rising prices, with 24% saying the sanctions had caused it and 24% saying oil companies were to blame.
The US has already released a considerable amount of oil from its reserve in recent months in response to rising gasoline prices, which have helped push inflation to its highest level in 40 years. However, after announcing the boycott, Biden announced a massive release of 30 million barrels of oil from the reserve.