Analysis: Tapping oil from reserve may be trickier than ever
(Reuters) - The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not quite as strategic as it used to be.
As President Barack Obama moves closer to an unprecedented second release of the emergency oil stockpile in a bid to bring down near-record fuel prices, experts say dramatic logistical upheavals in the oil market over the past year may now make such a move slower and more complicated.
Moving to tap the four giant Gulf Coast salt caverns that hold 700 million barrels of government-owned crude would still almost certainly knock global oil futures lower, delivering some relief at the pump for motorists and helping Obama in the November election if he can prevent gasoline from rising above $4 a gallon nationwide.
On Thursday, prices fell by as much as $3 a barrel after Reuters reported that Britain was set to agree to release stockpiles together with the United States later this year. UK officials said the timing and details of the release would be worked out prior to the summer, when prices often peak.
But the logistics of getting that crude oil to willing refiners are more complicated than ever.