Sep 15, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump to release oil from strategic reserve "if needed"

President Trump said via Twitter Sunday that he has authorized release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve "if needed" in response to the attacks against Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.

Why it matters: The statement signals high-level White House concern about the effect of the Saudi production outages on the global market.

  • Crude oil prices are surging Sunday evening as markets opened in Asia.
  • Brent crude soared by over $11-per-barrel to nearly $72-per-barrel in trading in Singapore before falling back to $67, per Bloomberg data. (The price will keep moving so check the link for the latest.)

Where it stands: Saudi officials say the attacks took 5.7 million barrels per day worth of production offline — over half of the kingdom's output.

  • It's unclear when full production from the world's top crude exporter will be fully restored. But per the Wall Street Journal, state oil giant Aramco hopes to restore 1/3 of the output by Monday's end.

Quick take: There's also a political dimension to the administration's posture, because the White House likely wants to avoid gasoline price increases heading into an election year.

The International Energy Agency, which coordinates emergency supply management with member nations, said in a statement yesterday that "For now, markets are well supplied with ample commercial stocks."

Go deeper