Business Secretary Vince Cable reiterated that Britain had been in talks with the U.S. and other nations about a coordinated release of strategic oil reserves to bring down prices.
“The government has a stockpile of oil for emergencies,” Cable told a conference of businesspeople in Scarborough, northern England, in answer to a question from a delegate. “There have been moves in the last few weeks, which are coordinated with the Americans and others, to release some of that stuff into the market to keep prices down.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said March 15, the day after he discussed the matter with U.S. President Barack Obama, that the two of them had reached no decision.
The strategic reserve was last tapped in July and August 2011 under an International Energy Agency effort to ease shortages in supplies from the Middle East.
Releasing oil from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve has been no guarantee of lower prices at the pump over the last eight years. In four instances, gasoline rose following the announcements of supplies from emergency inventories. In 2008 and 2011, tapping stockpiles brought down the cost of a fill-up, according to data from AAA.
Brent crude oil has climbed 16 percent this year to trade at $124.96 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange today.