Report claims Obama, Cameron discussed tapping oil reserves

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday discussed the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves, according to a news report.

“No agreement was reached. We will continue to work together to address energy security and oil price issues,” an unnamed senior Obama administration official told Reuters.


The reported discussion comes amid elevated crude oil prices, which are at 10-month highs, and rising costs at the gasoline pump that threaten the economic recovery and create political jeopardy for Obama.

Obama raised the matter with Cameron during their broader bilateral meeting, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed British official. One of the sources told Reuters that discussions could last for months before any decision is made.

An administration official told The Hill early Thursday that Obama and Cameron discussed energy markets and oil prices, but did not confirm specific discussions about tapping emergency reserves.

But top officials including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have in recent days and weeks said releasing some oil from the 696-million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is on the table.

Sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli airstrike that could hinder crude supplies have helped push global oil and U.S. gasoline prices upward.

Obama in June approved the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR to combat supply losses from Libya that officials said were threatening the economic recovery. It was part of a broader coordinated release with other International Energy Agency member nations.

Average U.S. gasoline prices are now averaging $3.82 per gallon, according to AAA, an increase of more than 30 cents in the last month.

—This post was updated at 8:30 a.m.