The Bush administration, in conjunction with other oil consuming nations, expects to release 2 million barrels a day of crude oil and refined gasoline from U.S. and international emergency government reserves to counter supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina, administration officials said Friday.
The move reflects a much broader use of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves and opens the way for millions of gallons (liters) of gasoline imports from European government stockpiles to try to stem soaring gasoline prices at home.
A decision was expected to be announced by the Paris-based International Energy Agency later Friday about the coordinated release of crude and refined products by agency members, said an administration source speaking on condition of anonymity because of the discussions on procedures for the release were still under way.
The release would total 2 million barrels a day, with the U.S. contributing 44 percent of that amount in crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Administration officials hope the other 56 percent would be in the form of gasoline now in European government stockpiles, reports the AP.
According to Reuters, Europe ready to dip into its emergency stocks of gasoline to help the United States through an energy crisis that began when Hurricane Katrina smashed into Gulf coast refiners, EU governments said on Friday.
Spain and Germany said they were ready and able to send fuel across the Atlantic in an operation coordinated by the West's energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency. A U.S. government official confirmed Washington had asked for help and said most of the gasoline would come from Europe.
Schroeder expected a massive two million barrels per day of oil to be shipped to the United States over the next month. The United States has lost about one million bpd of gasoline output.
"We assume that would lead to there being sufficient energy reserves in the market and, second, we would wish the pressure on the prices of oil products to be lessened," Schroeder said.
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