US to release oil reserves despite falling prices

The United States (US) look set to push ahead with its plan to release 50 million barrels of its strategic crude oil reserves, despite oil prices having already fallen due to concerns about the new Omicron coronavirus variant potentially leading to renewed restrictions.

Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, told reporters at a briefing that the administration was not reconsidering the move, which would be part of a coordinated attempt by some of the world’s biggest oil consumers to reign back the recent rise in oil prices as the demand for oil recovered. A drop in oil and energy prices in general will be very welcome for businesses, especially energy-intensive ones.

Psaki was also asked whether the administration had any concerns about China’s intention to release some of its oil reserves, given that it has not provided any details, to which she replied:

“We are always encouraging any country around the world including China to be as transparent as possible on any of their policy manoeuvres, but I don’t have any additional concerns to express today.”

Speaking to CNBC, Amos Hochstein, a senior advisor to the US State Department, said that the administration was prepared to release more crude oil reserves if needed, pointing to the need to have an impact on the markets and be ready to follow up if necessary.

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