WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday it had struck deals with 15 companies for the sale of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Board.
A total of 28 contracts were signed for 30.6 million barrels at prices ranging from $104.97 to $109.26 per barrel.
The agency said in a written statement the next step would be to arrange for delivery of the oil.
The Houston Chronicle reported the winning bidders included Barclays Bank, which paid the lowest price, and Texas refiner Valero, which made multiple prices for 6.1 million barrels. Valero paid the high end of $109.26 per barrel, but also scored barrels for as low as $105.62 per barrel.
The sale from the reserve was announced by the White House last month as U.S. crude and gasoline prices soared. Although the release was criticized as unnecessary, the move seemed to pull the legs out from under the crude market, sending NYMEX futures skidding below $100 per barrel.