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US dipping into oil reserve to curb rising gas prices

March 31, 2022

US President Joe Biden has announced a massive release of the country's strategic oil reserve as the US tries to combat high prices at the pump.

 President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's plans to combat rising gas prices
Biden said rising gas prices were a 'pain at the pump for American families' Image: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo/picture alliance

US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the United States would release one million barrels of oil per day from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve for the next six months.

He said tapping the emergency stockpile aimed to combat high prices at the pump caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Our prices are rising because of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's actions. There isn't enough supply. And the bottom line is if we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now," Biden said.

He said he had assurances from other nations that would also, "release tens of millions of additional barrels into the market" at what he described as, "a moment of consequence and peril for the world."

"Nations coming together to deny Putin the ability to weaponize his energy resources against American families and families in democracies around the world," Biden said.

Record release from strategic oil reserves

Biden's 180 million-barrel release over six months is unprecedented.

"This is a wartime bridge to increase oil supply until production ramps up later this year, and it is by far the largest release of our national reserve in our history," he said.

Although oil prices dropped on reports of the move, the release was unlikely to resolve the energy crisis fully.

It won't make up for the loss of 3 million barrels per day of Russian oil which the International Energy Agency estimates will be caused by Western sanctions and as global buyers avoid the oil.

US sees fossil fuel renaissance

OPEC announces slight increase in oil output 

The OPEC group of oil-producing countries and Russia and its allies agreed on another modest oil output increase on Thursday.

The group, known as OPEC+, said it would add 432,000 barrels per day in May, marginally higher than in previous months.

Its decision comes despite pressure from the West to boost output. 

"The consensus on the outlook pointed to a well-balanced market," the group said.

"Current volatility is not caused by fundamentals, but by ongoing geopolitical developments."

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has called an emergency meeting on Friday. 

lo/nm (AP, Reuters, AFP)