A large amount of the fuel released from the United States oil reserve in recent weeks to help curb the impact of high gas prices has been sent overseas to Europe and Asia in an effort to bolster global fuel supplies.
US President Joe Biden announced the release of approximately 1 million barrels of oil a day from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in late March, in a continued attempt to lower national gas prices as they – at the time – hovered around $4.20 per gallon. The relief, however, may not be as robust as many had expected, with millions of barrels of crude oil instead being shipped overseas to Italy, India, China and other countries, according to data from United States Customs.
“The SPR remains a critical energy security tool to address global crude oil supply disruptions,” a Department of Energy spokesperson told Reuters.
In total, over 5 million barrels of oil from the SPR were exported to places like Trieste, Italy, which sends crude oil to refineries across Europe. Some barrels made their way to India, and others to the Netherlands and China. US exports of crude oil have risen since April in response to the lack of access to Russian oil amid the Kremlin’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.
While the United States’ SPR has helped stabilize access to fuel for many regions worldwide, the impact of releasing the reserves may not be reaching its full potential when it comes to customers at the gas pump.
United States’ oil refineries have been operating at almost 100 percent capacity recently as refinery shutdowns and lack of foreign investment since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, resulting in what Business Insider referred to this week as a “bottleneck.” The reserves being released are more than the currently operative US refineries can handle, leading to the export of millions of barrels to be refined overseas.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNBC
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