WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is weighing the release of about 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for about six months, a source familiar with the matter said.
The president could announce the plan, which could free up as much as 180 million barrels of oil, in remarks from the White House at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Biden plans to outline his administration’s actions to lessen the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on domestic energy and gas prices.
The news comes several weeks after Biden announced the U.S. was banning the import of Russian energy products, including oil, liquified natural gas and coal, as part of an effort to increase pressure on Russia’s economy through a range of sanctions. The president and other administration officials made clear that they anticipated the move would lead to a rise in already-high gas prices.
Biden announced in November the release of 50 million barrels from the reserve, which at the time was considered the biggest release in U.S. history.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve serves as a tool presidents can rely on in emergencies. The U.S. has previously conducted emergency drawdowns from the reserve three times: during the Gulf War in 1991, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and following disruptions in 2011 in the supply of crude oil because of Libya’s civil war.
The reserve has a storage capacity of 714 million barrels stored in “huge underground salt caverns at four sites along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico,” according to the Department of Energy.