WASHINGTON | Donald Trump said on Monday that the United States had the intention to take advantage of the historic fall in oil prices to fill their strategic reserve.
“We are filling our strategic reserves of oil […] and we are thinking of setting up to 75 million barrels in the reserves themselves, which would fill them “, said the president during his press briefing daily devoted to the pandemic of Covid-19.
He then stated that he was going to either buy this amount of oil if the Congress gave him the green light to be open to third parties, the storage capacity which is sorely lacking elsewhere, in exchange for a fee.
Crude prices have collapsed Monday. The price of some barrels of crude in the u.s. is even fallen below zero, the broker charges the customer to get rid of the merchandise.
On 13 march, the president had said that he had the intent to fill to the brim the strategic reserve.
At 17 April, it contained 635 million barrels, and the authorized limit is currently $ 713,5 million barrels.
Housed in a complex of four underground sites along the gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana, in the south of the country, the reserve has a total storage capacity of 727 million barrels.
This black gold is intended to deal with emergencies, such as in 1991 when the operation desert Storm after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, in 2005 after hurricane Katrina, or in 2011 during the popular uprising in Libya.
Other sales, more punctual, have occurred in recent years to bail out the State budget.
The value of a barrel of oil quoted on the New York WTI for may delivery fell Monday to below zero at the end of a session infernal, investors desperately seeking to get rid of some barrels in a saturated market.
A phenomenon which came to be combined with the sudden drop in demand because of the economic paralysis caused by the pandemic.
The contract of WTI for may delivery, expiring Tuesday at the close, those who hold them must in fact find the more quickly buyers physical.
But as the stocks have already greatly inflated in the United States in recent weeks, they have been forced to not only sacrifice their prices in order to convince them to take up their barrels, but to pay them to do it.
The barrel of 159 litres of crude oil quoted in New York, which was trading even at $ 60 in the beginning of the year and 18,27 dollars Friday night, finally ended at -37,63 dollars after a plunge of epic, never before seen in the oil market.
The barrel of WTI had never fallen below $ 10 since the inception of this contract in 1983.
The situation should however improve in the days to come, say several analysts.