Price Impact of SPR Action Proves Short-Lived

Copyright © 2023 Energy Intelligence Group All rights reserved. Unauthorized access or electronic forwarding, even for internal use, is prohibited.

Increasing volumes of crude from strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) are hitting the spot crude market, but the intended impact of the SPR releases appears to have already come and gone.

Since November, the US, Europe and Asia have announced that they will release a combined 330 million barrels of crude to the market through October 2022.

Of that total, the US will provide 240 million bbl, or nearly 75%, due to both unilateral decisions by the White House and as part of matching pledges from other nations under the umbrella of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Although the bulk of the SPR oil has yet to be released, the price impact of the announcements is already waning. After dipping under $100 per barrel in the days following the announcement of the crude release, prices of global benchmark ICE Brent are cresting above $113/bbl again. Brent’s prompt premium over deliveries in six months is also back over $7 after dropping below $3.

The widening prompt premium signals a tight spot market for crude, even though traders say cargoes are available in West Africa in addition to the SPR volumes.

Breakdown of US Volumes

The US sales are a mixture of a winter exchange, congressional mandates to sell SPR oil and emergency releases.

The latest April headlines showed the US releasing 1 million barrels per day in the May-October period for a total 180 million bbl.

Of that, 160 million are new commitments, while 20 million bbl is carried over from previously announced releases in November and March. That 20 million bbl was rolled over from a total 80 million bbl, of which 50 million bbl was announced in November and 30 million bbl in March. From the November release, some 30 million bbl was a loan and will flow back to the SPR over time if it all gets taken up.

The 160 million bbl from the April release and the 80 million bbl from the prior two releases add up to 240 million bbl in total that will be available to the market.

SPR Profits

In the first quarter, the US released 28.2 million bbl of SPR crude, according to the Department of Energy (DOE), for an average of 310,000 b/d.

The average price for US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was $95/bbl in the first quarter.

The oil that is currently in the US' strategic caverns was bought at an average price of $29.70/bbl, the DOE said. The crude released so far this year made a paper profit of $1.8 billion.

Oil Inventories, Oil Supply, Crude Oil, Oil Prices, Oil Spot Markets
Wanda Ad #2 (article footer)
Developers, financers and other stakeholders are stressing the importance of long-awaited guidance from the US Treasury on landmark hydrogen tax incentives.
Tue, Oct 3, 2023