According to statistics and sources, more than 5 million barrels of oil were shipped to Europe and Asia last month as part of an unprecedented U.S. emergency reserves release to cut domestic fuel costs, despite record high U.S. gasoline and diesel prices.
The export of petroleum and gasoline is dampening the effect of US President Joe Biden’s measures to decrease record pump prices. Biden reiterated his request for fuel suppliers to lower their costs on Saturday, garnering criticism from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. more info
Through October, about 1 million barrels per day will be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The influx is depleting the SPR, which sank to its lowest level since 1986 last month. Crude futures in the United States are trading over $100 per barrel, while gasoline and diesel prices in one-fifth of the country are trading above $5 a gallon. Officials in the United States have said that if the SPR had not been used, oil prices may have risen.
“The SPR remains a critical energy security tool to address global crude oil supply disruptions,” a representative for the Department of Energy said, adding that the emergency releases helped assure steady crude oil supply.
According to U.S. Customs records, Phillips 66 (PSX.N), the fourth-largest U.S. oil refiner, moved about 470,000 barrels of sour crude from the Big Hill SPR storage facility in Texas to Trieste, Italy. Trieste is home to a pipeline that transports oil to central European refineries.
According to the statistics, Atlantic Trading & Marketing (ATMI), a subsidiary of TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), shipped two cargoes of 560,000 barrels each.
Phillips 66 refused to comment on the company’s trading behavior. ATMI did not reply to a comment request.
Cargoes of SPR crude were also in route to the Netherlands and an Indian Reliance (RELI.NS) refinery, according to an industry source. According to another source, a third shipment is on its way to China.
According to a shipping source, at least one shipment of oil from the West Hackberry SPR site in Louisiana was scheduled to be transported in July.
“Crude and fuel prices would likely be higher if (the SPR releases) hadn’t happened, but at the same time, it isn’t really having the effect that was assumed,” said Matt Smith, head oil analyst at Kpler.
The most recent deliveries follow three tankers that delivered SPR petroleum to Europe in April, assisting in the replacement of Russian crude supplies. more info
Crude inventories in the United States are at their lowest since 2004, as refineries operate at near capacity. Refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States were operating at 97.9 percent capacity, the highest level in three and a half years.