Oil Prices Dip as U.S. Announces Sale of Stockpiles from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

On Tuesday, the cost of oil decreased following the US’s declaration of its intent to release more stock from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, further exacerbating the already-unstable balance between supply and demand in the international market.[0] On Monday, the Biden administration announced it will be selling 26 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This release was mandated by Congress in past years.[1] It is anticipated that the sale will cause the reserve to drop below its current amount of approximately 372 million barrels, the lowest it has been since 1983.[2] The U.S. Energy Department has announced that the deadline for submitting bids for the oil is February 28th, with the delivery period running from April 1st to June 30th.[2]

Following the declaration of additional barrels, West Texas Intermediate, the US standard for crude, declined by 1% and was trading around $79 per barrel.[3] In an effort to replenish the emergency reserve, the Energy Department has attempted to halt some of the sales mandated by 2015 legislation.[4] At the request of the Energy Department, congressionally mandated releases of approximately 140 million barrels of oil (scheduled for fiscal years 2024 through 2027) were cancelled after a provision in a large budget bill was passed in December.[4]

Since then, the Biden administration has spoken with major energy firms about buying oil to refill the SPR, as oil prices have risen to around $70 per barrel.[4] The price level has sporadically reached the target price a few times.[4]

As 2023 gets underway, oil prices have been volatile as the market attempts to factor in China’s re-opening, supply restrictions imposed by Russia, and fears of recession in the US.[3] The accumulation of crude supplies is continuing to increase, making it more difficult for people who are optimistic about the market to be successful.[5] The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report, to be released tomorrow, is expected to show that US inventories will have risen for seven consecutive weeks.[5]

Ahead of the release of significant US inflation figures on Tuesday, crude has decreased. These figures will have an impact on investor predictions regarding how high the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to reign in a too-high inflation rate.[6] As of now, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has an estimated inventory of 372[7] The decline of an additional 26 million would bring the SPR to 46% below the level it was when President Joe Biden assumed office, resulting from his emergency sale of materials related to the conflict in Ukraine, as well as other sales and exchanges.[7]

On Friday, the Russian government declared that it intends to decrease its oil output by 500,000 bpd in March in response to overseas sanctions.[8] OPEC+ declared that they would not increase production to compensate for the deficit.[9]

0. “Oil prices drop as the US plans to sell more oil from strategic reserve” Markets Insider, 14 Feb. 2023, https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/commodities/oil-prices-spr-crude-petroleum-reserve-energy-global-market-supply-2023-2

1. “Oil prices muted as markets weigh SPR sale, inflation data By Investing.com” Investing.com, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.investing.com/news/commodities-news/oil-prices-muted-as-markets-weigh-spr-sale-inflation-data-3002250

2. “Oil Declines on US Requirement to Sell More Crude From the SPR” Financial Post, 14 Feb. 2023, https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/oil-retreats-on-us-plan-to-sell-more-oil-from-strategic-reserve

3. “Oil declines on U.S. requirement to sell more crude from the SPR” BNN Bloomberg, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/oil-declines-on-u-s-requirement-to-sell-more-crude-from-the-spr-1.1883387

4. “Biden To Sell Additional 26 Million Barrels From Reserve, Thanks To Obama” The Deep Dive, 14 Feb. 2023, https://thedeepdive.ca/biden-to-sell-additional-26-million-barrels-from-reserve-thanks-to-obama/

5. “Oil Tumbles With US Reserve Crude Set to Flood the Market” Yahoo! Voices, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/oil-drops-us-plan-sell-235849470.html

6. “Oil eases on US plan to sell more crude from strategic reserve” Energy Voice, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/482689/oil-eases-on-us-plan-to-sell-more-crude-from-strategic-reserve/

7. “Daily on Energy: Biden team in a tricky spot with newest mandatory SPR sale” Washington Examiner, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy-environment/daily-on-energy-biden-team-in-a-tricky-spot-with-newest-mandatory-spr-sale

8. “Oil traders hit ‘sell button’ with U.S. set to release more crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve” MarketWatch, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-falls-as-u-s-releases-more-crude-from-strategic-petroleum-reserve-7352872d

9. “Crude Tumbles as U.S. Plans to Release Crude from Stategic Petroleum Reserve” Barchart, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.barchart.com/story/news/14194372/crude-tumbles-as-u-s-plans-to-release-crude-from-stategic-petroleum-reserve