December 17, 2021 5:00 PM, EST

Biden Crude Oil Release Moves Into Second Round

Oil storage tanks at the Enbridge Inc. Cushing storage terminal in Cushing, Okla.Oil storage tanks at the Enbridge Inc. Cushing storage terminal in Cushing, Okla. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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The Biden administration’s release of crude from U.S. emergency reserves to cool oil’s rally is going into a second round, with bids due by the first working day of the year.

The Department of Energy is selling 18 million barrels of sour crude from storage caverns in Texas and Louisiana in a tender that closes Jan. 4, with deliveries Feb. 1-March 31, according to a statement on its website.

Crude futures have dropped about 15% since late October, when President Joe Biden and his team began indicating they were considering a variety of tools to bring down fuel prices. Oil has fallen more sharply since news of the omicron variant of the coronavirus broke in late November.

In a first effort, a loan program offered 32 million barrels of high-sulfur crudes from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Of that total, just 4.8 million barrels was awarded to ExxonMobil Corp.

In the latest tender, the Energy Department is offering to sell supplies from caverns in Big Hill and Bryan Mound in Texas, as wells as West Hackberry and Bayou Choctaw in Louisiana. The agency is allowing early deliveries where possible.

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