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Over 5 million barrels of US reserve oil were exported to Asia and Europe last month while domestic fuel prices broke records, report says

President Joe Biden.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

  • Over 5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was sent oversees in June, Reuters said.
  • The Biden administration has been tapping the reserve to try to bring down fuel prices from record highs.
  • The exports follow similar shipments of SPR crude in April, when three ships went to Europe to replace Russian oil.

More than 5 million barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve were exported to Asia and Europe last month, even as domestic gas prices soared, Reuters first reported. 

Among the shipments were two cargo ships carrying 560,000 barrels each from Atlantic Trading and Marketing, part of the France-based TotalEnergies, according to Reuters. And Phillips 66, the fourth-largest oil supplier in the US, sent about 470,000 barrels from a storage facility in Texas to Trieste, Italy, where a pipeline feeds refineries in Central Europe. 

The exports follow similar shipments of Strategic Petroleum Reserve crude in April, when three ships went to Europe to replace Russian oil.

Overall US oil exports have been surging since Russia invaded Ukraine in February as Western countries and companies turn away from Russian supplies. The US has also imposed an embargo on Russian oil, while the European Union is phasing in a partial ban.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to lower fuel prices. Releases are at a record pace of roughly 1 million barrels per day, bringing the stockpile to the lowest level since 1986 in June. 

Early last month, the average gallon of gas in the US climbed to an all-time high of $5. Gas prices have been coming down for the last three weeks, though they still remain elevated.

“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,” Kpler oil analyst Matt Smith told Reuters.

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