Oil plummets on talks about US and UK releasing reserves

Marion Dakers
THE PRICE of oil crashed by as much as $3 a barrel yesterday on the news that US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron have discussed a joint release of the countries’ fuel stockpiles to ease supply worries.

Downing Street confirmed that the leaders have talked about tapping the States’ 727m barrel reserves and the UK’s 10m tonnes of fuel held for emergencies but said no decision was made.

Cameron said a possible release of strategic oil reserves to tame soaring fuel prices is “worth looking at”.

“We’d both like to see global oil prices at a lower level than they are,” he added.

Both leaders played down earlier reports that a formal request by the US to boost supplies was imminent, which first triggered the crash.

Brent crude settled down $1.32 at $123.65 a barrel – down from highs of near $128 in recent weeks.

Tapping emergency reserves could help to stem surging fuel prices and gird against any potential supply shortfall from a sanctions-struck Iran.

The use of reserves by consumer nations would follow last summer’s 60m barrel release by the 28-member International Energy Agency countries, in a bid to fill the supply gap caused by Libya’s civil war.