News / Economy

US to Release Oil from Emergency Reserves

Gas Station manager Joseph Sublett changes a sign reflecting reflecting lower prices in Little Rock, Arkansas, June 22, 2011(file photo)
Gas Station manager Joseph Sublett changes a sign reflecting reflecting lower prices in Little Rock, Arkansas, June 22, 2011(file photo)
Kent Klein

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it is releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the United States’ emergency reserve to offset production lost because of the fighting in Libya.  The U.S. oil will be about half of a 60 million barrel international release.

The United States and the other member nations of the International Energy Agency, or IEA, are trying to head off a resurgence in petroleum prices.

White House officials say more than 140 million barrels of oil production have been lost since the fighting in Libya started earlier this year.

Although oil prices have been falling in recent weeks, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the release of the reserve oil has been discussed for some time.  He said the disruption in oil supplies is as real today as it was several weeks ago.

“This is a move by the IEA, which is a 28-member organization, in a coordinated way to address a sustained, significant disruption in our oil supply, caused by the events in Libya," said Carney.

The president’s spokesman said the administration does not predict prices.  But President Barack Obama has been under political pressure because of higher gasoline prices and their effect on economic growth.

Republican John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, accused the president of using a national security instrument to address his domestic political problems.

In a written statement Thursday, Boehner instead called for a national energy policy which involves increased oil production.

Carney said the release of U.S. strategic oil reserves during the next 30 days is intended to increase market supplies as demand increases when Americans take their summer vacations.

“What we are addressing is an impact caused by a supply disruption," he said. "At this time, it is necessary to do it because we are about to enter into the season when demand is at its highest.”

Although the United States and the other 27 IEA countries reached the decision together, Democratic Representative Edward Markey said the release will protect the U.S. economy and put other oil producers on notice.

“We are an oil-consuming nation," said Markey. "But with today’s announcement, we are sending a message to OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] and the oil-producing countries that we are not going to have our economy held hostage any longer.”

The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve was established in the 1970s in response to the OPEC oil embargo.  The reserve holds a record 727 million barrels of oil stored underground near the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Officials say President Obama is open to releasing more oil from U.S. reserves, but that he has not decided to do so.  

You May Like

Video Getting to Zero AIDS Infections

More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV, a disease that is both preventable and treatable

Children, Childhoods Lost in European Refugee Crisis

According to UNICEF, 190,000 children applied for political asylum in Europe in the first 9 months of this year - twice as many as last year

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.