Oil Prices Climbed Higher During Biden’s State of the Union

President Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP

President Joe Biden declared on Tuesday night that he was taking steps that would “blunt gas prices.”

The global oil market disagrees.

The price of Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose above $110 a barrel in overnight trading. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, rose to more than $109 a barrel.

“Tonight, I can announce that the United States has worked with 30 other countries to release 60 million barrels of oil from reserves around the world. America will lead that effort, releasing 30 Million barrels from our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And we stand ready to do more if necessary, unified with our allies,” Biden said in his State of the Union address. “These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home.”

Earlier in the day, the International Energy Agency said its members had agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves. But that announcement made little impression in the market. In part, that is because 60 million barrels is the equivalent of about three days of U.S. consumption.

Prices have risen sharply this year, driven up by rising demand and limited supply. Since Russia attacked Ukraine, prices have gone even higher as traders assess the risk that Russian oil could be sanctioned or otherwise excluded from global markets. So far, the U.S. and its allies have not sanctioned Russian energy directly. But on Monday and Tuesday, demand for Russian oil appeared to vanish as some traders decided to avoid purchasing oil from Russia, a move some are calling “self-sanctioning.”

Analysts at Bank of America have said that oil could go as high as $200 a barrel if the Russian supply was completely cut off.

At $110 a barrel, Brent crude is at its highest price since 2013.

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