WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Energy
said on Tuesday it had approved an exchange of 13.4 million
barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to
seven companies as part of President Joe Biden's effort to help
control oil prices.
The Biden administration announced a plan in November to
release up to 50 million barrels from the SPR after oil prices
hit seven-year highs. Nearly 40 million barrels of that has now
been released through previous exchanges and a sale of 18
The companies are: Shell Trading US, 4.2 million
barrels; Trafigura Trading LLC, a unit of Farringford NV,
3 million barrels; Phillips 66, 2.3 million barrels;
Macquarie Commodities Trading, 2 million barrels; Chevron USA
, 885,000 barrels; Exxon Mobil, 515,000 barrels;
and BP Products North America, 500,000 barrels.
Companies that take part in exchanges have to return the oil
to the reserve, held in a series of caverns on the Texas and
Louisiana coasts, at a later date with interest in the form of
Global oil prices mostly fell after the November
announcement as the Omicron variant slowed traveling. But they
have recently returned to seven-year highs on concerns that
supplies could get tight due to Ukraine-Russia tensions and
threats to infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S. release for the first time was coordinated with
Asian oil-consuming countries such as China, India and South
Korea. While there's been little movement in the other countries
to tap their national reserves, China will release crude from
its stockpiles around the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays as
part of that plan, sources said this month.
(Reporting by Eric Beech and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Leslie
Adler and Mark Porter)