The U.S., seeking to lower gasoline prices before November’s presidential elections, may lead a release of fuel from strategic stockpiles in the next three weeks, DNB ASA (DNB) said.
Any move would be initiated by the U.S. in cooperation with nations such as the U.K. and wouldn’t be coordinated by the International Energy Agency, said Torbjoern Kjus, a senior oil analyst with Norway’s biggest lender, in an interview today in Singapore. A stockpile release will take place for certain if Brent prices reach $120 a barrel, he said.
“There is a very large chance that it can happen within the next three weeks, because it has to happen in time before the U.S. elections to bring the gasoline prices down,” Kjus said. “In Europe, we have strategic stocks of oil products, but in the U.S., they have strategic stocks of crude. So a lot of things can happen in that respect.”
The U.S. has tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve 17 times since 1985. It currently holds about 695 million barrels of oil, according to the Department of Energy. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Sept. 18 at a briefing that “all options remain on the table” with regard to the SPR, the largest stockpile of government-owned crude in the world. Americans go to the polls on Nov. 6.
Brent oil for November settlement today climbed 88 cents to $110.91 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices have gained 7.8 percent this year. Gasoline futures in New York have risen 8.7 percent over the same period.
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