Biden Adviser Says US Won’t Rush to Fill Petroleum Reserve

Government Won't Jump the Gun on SPR Refill, Hochstein Says
Amos Hochstein listens as President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House
Amos Hochstein, right, senior energy security adviser for the U.S. Department of State, listens as President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Al Drago/Bloomberg News)

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The U.S. is committed to replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve but won’t rush to do so immediately despite the recent decline in oil prices, a top Biden administration official said.

“Why don’t we take this one day at a time,” Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security Amos Hochstein said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power.”

“We’ve seen a decline in oil prices, we’re seeing some crunch there,” Hochstein said. “We should take a deep breath and wait and see how this crisis right now impacts the oil and gas industry, production and what the profile is. So far prices have come down. We’re watching it very closely, we’ll continue to watch it over the next several days.”

The SPR, which was designed to shield the country from supply disruptions, is currently at 371.6 million barrels, the lowest since the 1980s, after the historic release of 180 million barrels last year to tame gasoline prices in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The administration previously laid out a plan to refill the reserve at prices close to $70 a barrel. WTI futures tumbled to almost $66 in New York on March 15.

President Joe Biden “is still committed to replenishing the SPR after extraordinary draws last year,” Hochstein said. “Nothing happens overnight. You have to decide that this is the right environment, so therefore you wait to see where the prices are going to be landing.”

With assistance from Josh Wingrove.

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