Oil sent from US reserves abroad as gasoline prices continue to rise

HOUSTON (Reuters) – More than five million barrels of oil that were part of a historic U.S. emergency reserve issuance to lower domestic fuel prices were exported to Europe and Asia last month, according to data and sources, even with U.S. and U.S. gasoline. Diesel prices have reached record levels.

Crude oil and fuel exports limit the impact of US President Joe Biden’s moves to cut record pump prices. On Saturday, Biden renewed his call for gasoline suppliers to lower their prices, drawing criticism from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Read more

About 1 million barrels per day are released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through October. The influx is draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which fell last month to its lowest level since 1986. US crude futures are above $100 a barrel and gasoline and diesel prices are above $5 a gallon in a fifth of the country. US officials have said that oil prices could rise if the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not exploited.

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“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve remains an important energy security tool to address disruptions to global crude oil supply,” a spokesperson for the Department of Energy said, adding that emergency releases helped ensure stable crude supplies.

The fourth largest oil refiner in the United States, Phillips 66 (PSX.N), has shipped about 470,000 barrels of sour crude from the Big Hill SPR storage site in Texas to Trieste, Italy, according to US customs data. Trieste is home to a pipeline that sends oil to refineries in central Europe.

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Atlantic Trade and Marketing (ATMI), the arm of French oil major TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA)The data showed the export of two shipments, each with a volume of 560,000 barrels.

Philips 66 declined to comment on trading activity. ATMI did not respond to a request for comment.

SPR crude shipments have also been directed to the Netherlands and to Reliance (RELI.NS) An industry source said in India. Another source said a third shipment was headed to China.

A shipping source added that at least one shipment of crude was scheduled to be exported from the West Hackberry SPR site in Louisiana in July.

“Crude oil and fuel prices are likely to be higher if[the SPR releases]didn’t happen, but at the same time, they didn’t have the impact that was supposed to,” said Matt Smith, Kpler’s principal oil analyst.

The latest exports follow three ships that took SPR crude to Europe in April to help replace Russian crude supplies. Read more

US crude stocks are the lowest since 2004 as refineries operate near peak levels. Refinery utilization in the US Gulf Coast was 97.9%, the most in three and a half years.

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(Arathi Sumasekhar reports) from Houston. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sam Holmes

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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