Biden to release up to 1M barrels per day from oil reserves

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has ordered the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day in an effort to control energy prices.

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Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 31: The White House announced Thursday morning that the president has officially ordered the release of oil to help bring down prices for the next six months, The Associated Press reported.

Biden will make the formal announcement Thursday outlining his administration’s plans to bring down the cost at the pump.

He is also asking Congress to fine oil and gas companies that hold leases on public land but don’t use it to produce energy, the AP reported.

Original report: The Associated Press, quoting two sources “familiar with the decision,” said the President’s move will be made to combat gasoline prices that have spiraled out of control since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

The oil market was tight even before the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported. The war, which has reduced the Russian flow of oil, has sent global prices even higher.

Biden is expected to call for the release of the barrels from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve on an ongoing basis for several months, The Washington Post reported, also citing an anonymous source. The reserve holds approximately 568 million barrels of crude oil, according to the newspaper.

The announcement could come as soon as Thursday, the AP reported. That is when the president is planning to deliver remarks on the administration’s plans to halt rising prices. The sources, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said that the length of the release has not been finalized.

According to Bloomberg, which also quoted an anonymous source, the total amount of oil released could be as much as 180 million barrels.

Crude oil on Wednesday traded at nearly $105 a barrel, a rise of $60 from a year ago.