The total number of barrels released globally could be between 50 million and 60 million, senior administration officials and others familiar with the matter said, although sources cautioned that the decision was not over yet and deliberations were still underway Tuesday morning.
Other allies are also expected to draw down their stocks in a coordinated effort to cut energy costs amid the ongoing Russian invasion. They include Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, and other major European countries, as well as Japan and South Korea.
The invasion of Ukraine has raised concerns about supply disruptions from Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer. Brent oil prices closed above $100 a barrel on Monday for the first time since 2014. US crude and Brent crude jumped another 5% on Tuesday even as the International Energy Agency met to discuss the response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
High oil prices have pushed prices at the gas pump to their highest in seven years. The national average for regular gasoline rose to $3.62 on Tuesday, up about 9 cents a week and 24 cents a month, according to the AAA. At some point, energy prices can become so expensive that they erode consumer demand and slow the broader economy.
The White House has not made any specific commitments and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to say if any specific request for an increase in supplies had been made when asked this week during a briefing.
“We are actively working with countries around the world to assess the collective release of strategic petroleum reserves for major energy consuming countries. The United States will release additional barrels of oil as circumstances warrant,” he said.
The agency said earlier this week that the Paris-based International Energy Agency was holding a last-minute meeting on oil supplies on Tuesday with the aim of “stabilizing markets”. The meeting was chaired by US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, on Tuesday expressed support for governments to release emergency stocks of oil to offset supply concerns raised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I think a coordinated response from several countries can help in the short term,” Wirth said in response to a question from CNN during a press briefing. “Certainly, we have seen the markets on edge with concern about supply and supply reliability.”
Wirth was confident that there would be no major disruption to supplies.
“I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Russia’s intentions, or the intentions of governments involved in sanctions, would be to restrict oil supplies,” Wirth said. “In fact, quite the opposite. It seems to me that people have been very keen to point out that their intent is to try to conserve energy supplies for a world that needs it.”
This story has been updated with additional reports.
CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report.
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