U.S. May Tap Strategic Oil Reserves

Australia and Japan also weigh releases to ease any supply constraints as Russa invades Ukraine.

February 24, 2022

Oil Drilling Infrastructure

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The White House is considering a globally coordinated crude stockpile release, as Russia’s military attack on Ukraine sent oil prices above $100 per barrel, reports SP Global. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Feb. 22 that member countries “stand ready to act collectively to ensure that global oil markets are adequately supplied.”

Following Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, Brent crude oil surpassed $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Biden Administration has “an ongoing effort right now to execute on a plan that's in coordination with oil producers and oil consumers to make sure the world knows we're going to have stable energy supplies,” a senior official told SP Global. “I expect you'll be hearing more from other countries very soon about that coordination effort.”

On Thursday, Australia and Japan said they were ready to tap into their emergency stockpiles to support a coordinated oil release if requested by the IEA, Reuters reports.

“The stabilisation of the crude oil market is extremely important for the stability of the world economy and the Japanese economy,” Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

As of the end of 2021, IEA members had close to 4.16 billion barrels, including 1.5 billion barrels held by governments as emergency reserves. The agency requires that members hold 90 days of net imports in government or commercial storage.

Last November, the Biden Administration released 50 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) when WTI prices were about $78 per barrel. The U.S. SPR held 584.8 million barrels as of Feb. 11, the lowest since September 2002.