U.S. officials have been working counterparts in other countries on a combined release of additional oil from global strategic crude reserves two sources said on Thursday, and one said the plan was in the “early stages.”
Prices for international crude benchmark Brent shot above $105 a barrel after Russia attacked Ukraine, feeding inflation as fuel demand recovers after the pandemic.
“We are exploring through the IEA,” said one of the sources, referring to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, which said this week it stands ready to tap reserves. “We are on Day 1 (of Russia’s attacks) so still working on timing, et cetera,” for the oil release, the source said.
The IEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The plan would be in addition to a coordinated release of stockpiles with Asian consumer countries organized by Washington last November to combat energy inflation. So far the United States has been the main country to release oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, after that agreement, and China has mostly held off from releasing from its reserve.
It was not immediately clear whether China, an affiliate of the IEA, was involved in the plan.
The White House’s National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Japan and Australia said on Thursday they were prepared to tap their oil reserves, together with other IEA member nations, if global supplies were hit but the violence in Ukraine.
Total oil stocks in IEA nations stood at close to 4.16 billion barrels by the end of December, including 1.5 billion held by governments in emergency reserves, the agency said this week.