Crude prices fall as Biden plans to tap oil reserve

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Oil prices fell more than $5 a barrel on Thursday as the United States is considering releasing up to 180 million barrels from its strategic petroleum reserve over several months to calm soaring prices.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell $6.19, or 5.7%, to $101.66 a barrel.

Brent futures fell $5.63, or 4.9%, to $107.82 a barrel. 

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President Biden is preparing to order the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, according to two people familiar with the decision, in a bid to control energy prices that have spiked as the U.S. and allies have imposed steep sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine

A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas. REUTERS/Richard Carson – RTSGTQ6 (REUTERS/Richard Carson / Reuters Photos)

The announcement could come as soon as Thursday, when the White House says Biden is planning to deliver remarks on his administration's plans to combat rising gas prices. The duration of the release hasn't been finalized but it could last for several months. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the decision.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies, including Russia. The group is expected to keep to its existing deal to gradually increase oil production.

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The release comes as U.S. oil inventories fell by 3.4 million barrels last week, greater than forecasts of a 1 million barrel decline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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