Energy & Environment

Biden suggests US will release oil from reserves ‘as conditions warrant’

President Biden delivers a statement on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
UPI Photo

President Biden suggested on Thursday that the U.S. may release oil from its strategic reserve after prices soared amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

In a speech delivered Thursday addressing the developing conflict between Russia and the former Soviet state, Biden said that he was coordinating with both oil producing and oil consuming nations, and that the U.S. could release oil of its own. 

“We are actively working with countries around the world to elevate collective release from the strategic petroleum reserves of major energy consuming companies, and the United States will release additional barrels of oil as conditions warrant,” he said. 

“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that people are feeling at the gas pump,” the president added. 

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer — and its attack on Ukraine increased prices of the global commodity. 

Thursday morning in the U.S., the stock market opened with heavy losses following the news of the Russian military operation, and oil prices continued to climb overnight as investors braced for a disruption in global energy markets.

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate Crude, the baseline for U.S. oil prices, was up to $98.78 shortly after 9:30 a.m. Intercontinental Exchange Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, reached $104.15 a barrel.

The American president has a limited ability to raise or lower their prices, and gasoline is made out of oil, so changes to oil prices may hit consumers at the pump. 

During his remarks on Thursday afternoon, the president announced additional sanctions levied on two major Russian banks and imposed export controls to curtail high-tech Russian imports. 

He added the sanctions package the United States has placed on Russia was “specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue.”

As of 2019, fossil fuels accounted for more than half of U.S. imports from Russia

Meanwhile, Biden also called on U.S. energy producers to keep prices low amid the situation. 

“American oil and gas companies should not exploit this moment to hike their prices to raise profits,” he said.

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