President Joe Biden will announce the sale of an additional 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in December, a senior administration official said. This is an attempt to counter market pressures created by OPEC’s decision to cut oil production targets just three weeks before the US midterm elections.
The sale announcement is the latest step in the White House’s plan to balance global markets and curb rising gasoline prices. It marks an extension of the six-month program that was designed to provide a bridge for domestic producers to increase their own production as the global market faces spasms in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The price of gasoline is still too high and we need to keep working to bring it down,” Biden said at an event in Los Angeles last week, where he added that he planned to announce new measures in the coming days.
The planned action would comply with the administration’s March announcement to release a historic 180 million barrels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve over a six-month period to counter increase in energy prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That action, which has been implemented for regular sales in recent months, has added to global economic concerns to drive down gasoline prices for nearly three months in a row.
Biden has also made it clear to his advisers that if conditions warrant, he is prepared to authorize further sales in order to balance the market. The president, the official said, directed his energy and economy teams to be prepared to authorize “significant additional sales in the coming months” if global market conditions warrant.