IEA Will Deploy Emergency Oil Stockpiles

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The International Energy Agency, which includes the United States and other major economies, will deploy 60 million barrels of oil stockpiles to help ease prices that have finally pushed about $100 a barrel.

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Half of the oil will come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the rest coming from IEA members in Europe and Asia, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

This marks the second time in the past several months that President Joe Biden has agreed to release U.S. oil reserves. In November, his administration released 50 million barrels amid a rise in oil and gas prices caused by supply chain issues.

The IEA decision comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to fears of a disruption in oil from Russia — a key supplier to much of Europe. Crude prices rose above $105 a barrel in London for the first time since 2014, Bloomberg noted.

Markets have also been rattled by the refusal of OPEC+ nations, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to release supplies more quickly. The organization is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday to discuss its April production plans.

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The last time the IEA made a coordinated release of oil stocks was during the Libyan civil war in 2011. The only other times this happened were during the 1991 Gulf War, and following hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005.

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Meanwhile, gasoline prices in the U.S. continue to creep higher. The average price of regular gas was $3.619 on Tuesday, according to AAA. That’s up from $3.531 a week ago, $3.379 a month ago and $2.720 a year ago.