Insight from Washington: The SPR rumor is dead, long live the SPR rumor

When Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil producing countries decided against a broad increase in crude output in Algiers last month, chatter began that the US was mulling a release from its government-owned oil stocks. When the Algiers meeting wrapped up, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters that the market was balanced and that OPEC had adequately boosted supply, assurances which did little for US President Donald Trump, who took to a full audience at the United Nations to declare that OPEC was “ripping off” the world. By the time Trump was done speaking, the chatter about a US Strategic Petroleum Reserve release had become widespread speculation. Fears over looming tightness in the market late this year, the impact of reimposed US sanctions on Iran and even the impact of rising gasoline prices on November’s US congressional elections had many analysts asking when, not if, an SPR draw would take place. But a day after Trump’s UN speech, US energy secretary Rick Perry summoned reporters to his office to let them know that an SPR release was not on the cards. Perry denied that the administration was considering such a move and said even if SPR crude was released… continue reading

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