The U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday that it would be selling up to 45 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ease the gas crisis.
According to a report by Reuters, the release of oil is part of the Biden administration’s previously announced largest-ever release of the national oil stockpile.
The relief might not be quick, however, as the SPR sale and delivery of oil is expected to take place between Aug. 16 and Sept. 30, according to the Energy Department.
The Biden administration announced in late March that the SPR, which is housed in a network of hollowed-out salt caverns off the shores of Louisiana and Texas, will release a record 1 million barrels of oil per day for six months.
The move was intended to help stabilize oil prices, which have risen since Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, invaded Ukraine and the West imposed sanctions on Moscow.
Global benchmark prices Brent crude has risen to trade above $120 a barrel since the Mar. 31 announcement. The spike is due to the fact that few global oil producers have spare capacity, and consumers who have recovered from the pandemic are driving up gasoline consumption.
The Biden administration has essentially patted themselves on the back, saying that oil prices could be even higher than their current highest ever level if the SPR hadn’t been tapped.
However, in addition to the other problems, the reserve is at its lowest level in 35 years as the nation struggles under the weight of the Biden administration’s economic stress.
And to make matters worse for the nation, the low levels of oil stockpiles aren’t just uncomfortable for Americans; the nation is required to have a certain level of reserves to satisfy international agreements.