The government now is aiming for March to begin replenishing the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve which is at its lowest level in decades.
After using 180 million barrels of crude oil to lower gasoline prices instead of the original purpose for national security emergencies, the Biden administration announced Friday it intends to buy 3 million barrels of crude oil for delivery in March.
It wants to take advantage of lower crude prices to refil the emergency stockpile. Prices of West Texas Intermediate crude, considered the US benchmark, closed Friday at $71.23 per barrel, a gain of $1.89 or 2.7% for the day. Still, prices were down about 2% for the week and it was the seventh straight weekly decline for WTI and Brent crude which is the global benchmark.
Reuters reported the Energy Department had indicated two months ago it intended to buy back oil at $79 a barrel and as of this month had acquired about 9 million barrels at nearly $75 a barrel.
The government intends to store the 3 million gallons at the Big Hill SPR site in Texas.. The national reserve currently holds 351.9 million barrels of oil.