US buys 1.2 million barrels of oil for Strategic Petroleum Reserve By Reuters

© Reuters. Department of Energy officials lead reporters on a tour of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States bought 1.2 million barrels of oil to help replenish its strategic oil reserves, after selling the largest amount ever last year, the U.S. department said on Monday Energy.

The department said it purchased the oil at an average price of $77.57 per barrel from two companies after 18 bids were submitted.

President Joe Biden’s administration last year made the largest-ever SPR sale of 180 million barrels as part of a strategy to stabilize surging oil markets and combat high prices at the pump the day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has now bought back around 6 million barrels.

As oil prices have risen following production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, it has been difficult for the administration to buy back oil for its reserves. Last month, it raised the price at which it hopes to buy oil to $79 or less a barrel, from a previous price range of around $68 to $72.

Last month, the Energy Ministry said it hoped to buy 3 million barrels for delivery in December and another 3 million for January at a higher price. It said it plans to issue additional oil purchase requests for the reserve on a monthly basis until at least May 2024.

“President (Joe) Biden and the Department of Energy remain committed to resupplying the SPR at fair prices, preserving this critical energy security asset while getting a good deal for American taxpayers,” said a spokesperson for the ministry.

The department said oil during last year’s emergency sales sold for an average of $95 a barrel.

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