World oil prices declined slightly Wednesday after the Bush administration said it will release crude oil from a national reserve to ease disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina.
U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told television interviewers the oil will be loaned to refiners who need it.
The U.S. government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve has nearly 700 million barrels of crude oil in underground salt caverns - enough to meet U.S. demand for about one month.
World oil prices surged to a record $70.85 a barrel Tuesday as investors worried that hurricane damage will curtail U.S. crude oil, gasoline, and heating oil production. Prices fell below $70 after the announcement.
The loan of crude oil will help some refineries continue production. But analysts say the industry still has to get storm affected refineries back to the work of converting crude oil to gasoline and heating oil.
Some information for this report provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.