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White House says Strategic Petroleum Reserve sale remains an option

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Selling oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve remains an option for responding to climbing prices, a White House spokesman said Friday.

As weve said for some time, a release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is an option thats on the table, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during the daily White House briefing.

Reuters reported Thursday that an anonymous source said the Obama administration was dusting off plans for auctioning crude from the salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana.

The stockpile currently holds 695.9 million barrels of crude, according to the Department of Energy.

White House spokesman Clark Stevens, who handles energy issues, separately declined to comment.

Earnest said he had nothing to announce on the SPR chatter.

The administration does carefully monitor the global oil market and the global price of oil, he said. So its something that we watch closely because of the economic consequences for changes in that market and changes in the price.

Its also one of the reasons that the president has advocated so aggressively for taking steps that will make the United States of America independent of foreign oil, that we can finally ensure -- provide some insulation to our economy and to families so that theyre not so dramatically affected by swings in the oil market.

Earnest said he was not aware of comments earlier Friday in Houston by Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, indicating that oil markets are currently well supplied.

This is the first Ive heard of that analysis, Earnest said. I dont think I have a specific reaction to it other than to say that this is something that were also watching ourselves very closely because of the economic impact of changes in the global oil market.

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