US And Others To Release 60 Million Barrels Of Oil From Strategi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

US And Others To Release 60 Million Barrels Of Oil From Strategic Reserves

MSNBC.COM - The United States and other oil-consuming nations said Thursday they plan to release 60 million barrels of oil from government reserves over the next month in a bid to push down soaring energy prices.

The announcement had an immediate impact on global markets, pushing down the price of one benchmark grade of crude by $5 a barrel to about $109.

The consumer nations acted after OPEC failed to raise production at a meeting on June 8 and despite assurances from OPEC's biggest producer Saudi Arabia that it would lift supplies unilaterally.

"Greater tightness in the oil market threatens to undermine the fragile global economic recovery," the IEA said.

Half the oil will come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who cited political disruptions in the Middle East for the move.

"We are taking this action in response to the ongoing loss of crude oil due to supply disruptions in Libya and other countries and their impact on the global economic recovery," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  "As we move forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to take additional steps if necessary."

The 30 million barrels is just a small fraction of the total 727 million barrels of oil in the SPR, a historically high level.

Overall the U.S. and IEA plan to release 2 million barrels per day onto the world market over the next 30 days, more than making up for the 1.2 million barrels daily that Libya was exporting before the current unrest.

Demand for oil is typically highest in July and August, peak of the summer driving season, according to the Energy Department.

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