The U.S. will take advantage of historically low oil prices to fill up its Strategic Petroluem Reserve, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said.
“We've contracted now for approximately 43 million barrels, up to about 75 million, perhaps 77 million barrels,” Brouillette told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Tuesday. ”We're also authorized to go up to 1 billion barrels of storage under the strategic reserve.”
Brouillette plans to work with Congress to expand the reserve, which will buoy an oil market overwhelmed with supply as “stay-at-home” orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crushed demand even as Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the world’s largest producers, engaged in a price war.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures contracts for June delivery plunged by 35 percent to $13.29 a barrel on Tuesday, one day after the May contract plummeted by 305 percent to -$36.73 as traders dumped contracts to avoid having to take physical delivery following Tuesday’s expiration.
“The key is to reopen the economy -- it's to create a demand signal to put people back to work,” Brouillette said.
President Trump reiterated his support for the oil industry in a tweet on Tuesday, saying he has “instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future!"