Energy & Environment

US, allies to release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves

The U.S. and its allies will release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves as the Russian invasion of Ukraine sends shockwaves through the energy market.

That will include 30 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki and the Department of Energy. The rest will come from the remaining 30 countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Today’s announcement is another example of partners around the world condemning Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and working together to address the impact of President Putin’s war of choice,” Psaki said. “President Biden was clear from the beginning that all tools are on the table to protect American businesses and consumers, including from rising prices at the pump.”

In a separate announcement, the IEA backed international sanctions against Russia and said it made the decision to release oil from its reserves amid volatile oil prices and an eight-year low for commercial inventories, as well as constraints on producers that prevent making up the supply shortfall in the near term.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol presented the release as an extension of international cooperation in opposition to the invasion.

“I am pleased that the IEA has also come together today to take action. The situation in energy markets is very serious and demands our full attention,” Birol said. “Global energy security is under threat, putting the world economy at risk during a fragile stage of the recovery.”

Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter, exporting some 5 million barrels of crude per day. About 60 percent of exports are to Europe, with another 20 percent to China. The IEA’s secretariat is set to release guidance on Thursday for European nations on how to reduce dependence on Russian energy over the course of the year, according to the organization.

The announcement comes days after Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) sent a letter urging President Biden to take the step, noting the invasion’s impact on domestic gas prices.

“Hardworking families cannot continue to bear the economic hardship of high gas prices while paying for more expensive groceries and medicine. Even before the crisis in Ukraine, Arizona families struggled with costs at the pump,” Kelly wrote.

Tags Jen Psaki Joe Biden Mark Kelly
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