President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States would take advantage of low oil prices and buy a large quantity of crude to fill the nation’s emergency crude oil reserve, in a move aimed to help energy producers struggling from the price plunge.”Based on the prices of oil, I’ve … instructed the secretary of energy to purchase, at a very good price, large quantities of crude oil for storage in the U.S. strategic reserve,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’re going to fill it right up to the top.”
Oil prices have collapsed to about $30 a barrel on reduced demand due to the spread of coronavirus and after Saudi Arabia and Russia over the weekend launched a war for oil market share by pumping oil flat out.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, held in a series of caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts, has the capacity to store up to an additional 77 million barrels of oil, a Department of Energy official said. The official did not say how much oil would be bought for the reserve, which currently holds 635 million barrels.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Timothy Gardner in Washington Writing by Tim Ahmann Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)