Biden orders oil reserve sale to improve supply, lower prices

White House says move is coordinated with China, India, Japan, Korea, UK as 'we exit pandemic'.

Biden orders oil reserve sale to improve supply, lower prices

US President Joe Biden Tuesday ordered sale from strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) to provide additional supply to the markets and lower crude prices, the White House said in a statement.

The US Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the SPR, the largest stockpile of petroleum in the world used for emergencies.

While 32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, 18 million barrels will be an acceleration of a previously authorized sale by Congress, according to the White House.

The move is a coordinated effort, a first of its kind, with the rest of the world "to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic", it said, adding other major energy-consuming nations include China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the UK.

The White House said Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to bring down costs for the American people and continue economic recovery. The president also ordered examining anti-competitive practices, it added.

"There is mounting evidence that declines in oil prices are not translating into lower prices at the pump," the statement said.

Biden on Nov. 17 ordered the Federal Trade Commission to launch a probe into American energy companies for anti-consumer practices as the nation deals with soaring energy prices.

The president's actions come as crude oil prices hover around their highest level since 2014, creating upward pressure on inflation. Consumer prices in the US rose 6.2% in October, marking their largest 12-month increase since 1990.

The US had 606.1 million barrels of oil in its SPR as of the week ending Nov. 12, according to the country's Energy Information Administration data. It also had 433 million barrels in commercial stocks.