The 31 members of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday they’d release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves to bolster the world’s oil markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The United States and large energy-consuming countries in Europe have not sanctioned Russian oil, but prices have spiked since the invasion. On Tuesday, the price of a barrel of oil was more than $100 for the first time since 2014.
Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of oil, accounting for roughly 12% of the oil market. Sixty percent of Russian oil goes to Europe, while about 20% goes to China. The U.S. also imports Russian oil.
The release is "to send a strong message to oil markets" that there will be "no shortfall in supplies" the group said Tuesday.
"The situation in energy markets is very serious and demands our full attention," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
The U.S. will account for about half of the release announced by the IEA.
The IEA’s action is only the fourth time it has led a coordinated release of strategic oil reserves since reserves were created following the Arab oil embargo of 1974.
It is unclear if releases affect the price of oil.
Last November, amid spiking gas prices, U.S. President Joe Biden released 50 million barrels, a move followed by several other countries. The move had very little impact on the price of gasoline, which has continued to rise. The price of one gallon of gas in the U.S. is now 90 cents more than it was a year ago.
"The release of the reserves is notable, but as we saw back in November, it's just not viewed as a kind of game changer in any way," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at commodity futures trading firm OANDA, told Reuters.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.