It could take years for the US to refill its emergency oil reserves after last year's record sales

The UAE is moving up an already ambitious target to increase crude oil output.
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  • It could take years to stock up the US emergency oil reserves after 2022's historic sales, per Reuters.

  • Last year, President Joe Biden ordered the release of 180 million barrels from crude reserves in a bid to lower gas prices.

  • The US energy secretary said maintenance costs at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and last year's sales make it difficult to refill the stockpile.

It could take years for the United States to replenish its emergency oil reserves after last year's record sales aimed at easing gas prices, according to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm.

When asked about replenshing the reserves at $70 a barrel during a congressional hearing, Graholm said: "That part of the challenge is that there's another piece of congressionally mandated sales that we're required to do this year, another 26million barrels and there are two sites that are under maintenance. So this year will be difficult for us to take advantage of the [current] low price but we will continue to look for that low price in the future because we intend to be able to save the taxpayer dollars."

The US strategic petroleum reserve is kept in huge underground salt caverns at four major facilities in Texas and Louisiana. According to Granholm, maintenance costs at two of the reserve's four sites as well as 2022's historic sale will make it difficult to buy back oil this year.

Last year, President Joe Biden marked history after ordering the release of 180 million barrels of crude oil from the the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) – the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil – in a bid to tame soaring prices at the pump for Americans and tamp down inflation, partly fueled by Russia's war with Ukraine.

Now, the SPR holds about 372 million barrels, the lowest level since January 1985.

Gas prices soared above $5 a gallon last summer, but have since cooled to around $3 a gallon, per AAA. The spike in price tracked surging oil prices, which shot past $120 a barrel last March.

Brent crude oil has lost around 40% from March highs, while WTI crude, the US benchmark price, has dropped around 43%.

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