US releases 30 million barrels of oil amid Ukraine crisis

Washington, Mar 1 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Tuesday authorized the release of 30 million barrels of crude oil from the US strategic reserves in response to the rise in fuel prices resulting from the war in Ukraine.

The members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) agreed on Tuesday to place 60 million barrels of crude on the market, with half of that amount coming from US stockpiles, in a bid to stabilize energy markets around the world.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the IEA announcement is an “example” of the work that Western partners have done to condemn the “unprovoked” and “unjustified” invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We are prepared to use every tool available to us to limit disruption to global energy supply as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s actions,” Psaki said.

The US strategic oil stockpile, located in huge underground caverns in the southern part of the country, are the largest in the world and currently contain some 600 million barrels of unprocessed crude.

The reserve was created in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo, which raised prices markedly and had a huge negative impact on the US economy.

The aim of the reserve is to prevent future interruptions in the supply of petroleum and to serve as a foreign policy tool, according to the US Department of Energy Web site.

The war in Ukraine could affect fuel prices in the US, which is currently experiencing a level of inflation not seen in decades, but the biggest hit could be suffered by the European Union, which buys 41 percent of its natural gas from Russia and also depends on that country as a petroleum supplier, according to figures from Eurostat.

On Tuesday, the price of West Texas Intermediate Crude, the US benchmark, shot up by more than 11 percent above $106 per barrel, putting the price of oil near levels not seen since 2011.

EFE bpm/pamp/eat/bp

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