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.
“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.