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White House seeks to tap SPR to pay for part of infrastructure deal

Highlights

Deal include $7.5 billion for EV charging stations

SPR could raise $45 billion if drained at current price

Selling crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be one funding source for the $579 billion, five-year infrastructure deal announced June 24 by President Joe Biden and senators from both parties.

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A White House fact sheet lists the SPR as one of 13 "proposed financing sources for new investment," without giving any details about the volume of crude that could be moved onto the market from the government stockpile.

The bipartisan infrastructure framework include $312 billion for transportation such as roads, bridges, airports and public transit, and $266 billion for other infrastructure such as water, broadband and environmental remediation, the White House said.

The deal earmarks $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure, which is up from $4 billion in an earlier proposal by Senate Republicans but still only 4% of what the Biden administration originally sought to spend on electrifying transportation.

The White House called the deal the "largest investment in EV infrastructure in history," and said it would pay for 500,000 EV chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities.

The deal will still have to pass the closely-divided Congress.

Oil fund

SPR sales could raise more than $45 billion at current oil prices if the stockpile is fully drained. NYMEX August WTI was trading around $73/b June 24.

As of June 18, the stockpile held 623.9 million barrels of oil, about 59% sour and 41% sweet, according to the US Department of Energy, which manages the reserve.

SPR deliveries from previous congressionally mandated sales are starting to wind down for fiscal 2021, but another 15 million barrels is likely to hit the market in October, said Paul Sheldon, chief geopolitical adviser for S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Deliveries averaged 245,000 b/d in the week to June 18 for a total of 13.9 million barrels sold since April 3.

Platts Analytics expects another 2.8 million barrels to hit the market by the end of June.