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SPR release expected by analysts

Sept. 17, 2012 at 7:48 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Washington could point to any number of market and geopolitical reasons to justify a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an analysis indicates.

Higher gasoline and oil prices, coupled with disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico from a late August hurricane, brought renewed interest in tapping into the SPR.

PFC Energy, an energy consulting company in Washington, said it expected U.S. President Barack Obama to call for a release from the emergency stockpile.

"As a fig leaf, the president could cite the near 1.5 million barrels per day of disruptions to global crude oil production this year," the Platts news service quotes PFC as saying.

"He could also point to the geographical mismatch between America's rising crude producing regions and those where refined products are needed, citing the need for the government to temporarily bridge the gap."

Energy analysts testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power in March about the SPR after gasoline prices increased 18 percent from their January levels.

Chris Smith, deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas at the U.S. Energy Department, testified that there's "no silver bullet" for short-term relief at the pump.

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