The Biden administration said on Monday it is selling 26 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a release that had been mandated by Congress in previous years. The sale will likely temporarily push the reserve below its current level of about 372 million barrels, the lowest level since 1983. U.S. Energy Department said bids on the oil are due on Feb. 28 and that the oil would be delivered from April 1 to June 30.
The department had considered cancelling the fiscal year 2023 sale of the 26 million barrels after the Biden administration last year sold a record 180 million barrels from the reserve. But such a cancellation would have required Congress to act. The administration sold the 180 million barrels of oil to combat fuel prices that had risen on Russia’s war on Ukraine and as global consumers emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Energy Department said it is implementing a three-part strategy to refill the reserve in the long term, including repurchases with revenues from emergency sales, returns from previous exchanges, and working with Congress to avoid “unnecessary sales unrelated to supply disruptions to strategically maintain volume.
Last year, Congress canceled sales of about 140 million barrels from the SPR that had been set to take place from fiscal year 2024 to fiscal year 2027, after an Energy Department proposal to stop them.