Oil Prices Fall as US Announces SPR Sale and Fed Warns of Inflation

Oil prices dropped on Tuesday after the US announced plans to sell more inventory from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, adding to the global market’s already-volatile crosscurrents in supply and demand. [0]West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude, dropped 1% to around $79 a barrel following the news of additional barrels.[1]

The Biden administration said it is selling 26 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a release that had been mandated by Congress in previous years. It is expected that the sale will reduce the reserve below its current amount of around 372 million barrels, which is the least it has been since 1983.[2]

The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a 10.5 million barrel rise in US crude inventories, according to a source citing the data.[3] This Wednesday morning, the Energy Information Administration will be releasing official figures.[4] According to the survey conducted by S&P Global Commodity Insights, the analysts expect the crude oil inventories to increase by 600,000 barrels, gasoline stocks to rise by 1.6 million barrels, and distillate inventories to decrease by 100,000 barrels.[4]

The Biden administration confirmed Feb. 13 that the US Energy Department (DOE) will be selling 26 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an attempt to counter forthcoming Russian oil production cuts — and to provide preventive relief for another potential summer gas price surge.

Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday said that the US central bank will need to maintain gradual increases to interest rates to beat inflation and suggested that price pressures driven by a hot jobs market could push borrowing costs higher than previously expected.[5]

After the West imposed price caps, Russia declared last week that it will decrease its oil production by 500,000 barrels per day starting in March as a response. This information follows the SPR release.[6]

The global benchmark Brent crude oil decreased by 1.5%, settling at $85.40 per barrel. It had, however, fallen to an even lower point earlier in the[0] Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, reported that profits from oil and gas in the prior year were around $4 trillion, a stark contrast to the yearly average of $1.5 trillion. He cautioned that nations should begin to reduce their reliance on petroleum, as demand is expected to decrease in the long run.[7]

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 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

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 drops on inventory jump; demand outlook limits loss” CNBC, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/15/oil-prices-drop-as-us-inventories-jump-fuels-demand-worries.html

4. “Oil lower on rising U.S. crude inventories” MarketWatch, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-lower-on-rising-u-s-crude-inventories-479fb971

5. “Oil Falls on Demand Concerns – Oil Falls on Demand Concerns” Financial Tribune, 14 Feb. 2023, https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/117091/oil-falls-on-demand-concerns

6. “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

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