Washington: President Donald Trump has said the US is “looking to” add 75 million barrels of oil to its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as oil futures tumbled into negative territory.
“Based on the record low price of oil that you have been seeing, it is at a level that is very interesting to a lot of people,” Trump said on Monday at a White House press briefing, according to media reports.
“We are looking to put as much as 75 million barrels into the reserves themselves that would top it out,” he said, adding “we would get it for the right price,” he said.
The SPR, the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil, was established by the US federal government in the 1970s primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products.
As of Friday, the SPR held 635 million barrels of crude oil, including 384.7 million barrels of sour crude and 250.3 million barrels of sweet crude.
Trump’s remarks came after US oil futures prices crashed to the negative territory for the first time in history on Monday, fuelled by Coronavirus-related demand shock and oversupply fears.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery shed $55.9, or over 305 per cent, to settle at -37.63 USD a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, implying that producers would pay buyers to take oil off their hands.
It marks the first time an oil futures contract has traded negative in history, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The May contract expires on Tuesday.