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Oil Slips as Feds Consider Tapping SPR

3/28/2012 3:30:00 PM
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Tim Rue/Bloomberg News

Oil fell for the first time in four days Wednesday following a Department of Energy report that showed crude inventories rose, while the department considered tapping the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Bloomberg reported.

Crude futures slipped $1.92 to finish the trading day at $105.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since March 22.

That followed Tuesday’s $107.33 per barrel, which was the highest closing price since March 19.

Crude stockpiles jumped 7.1 million barrels last week, DOE said, well over the 2.6 million-barrel gain forecast by economists, Bloomberg said.

Gasoline supplies fell by 3.5 million barrels for the week ended Saturday, while distillates, which include diesel, fell by 700,000 barrels, DOE said in its weekly report.

Meanwhile, DOE is considering tapping the SPR, a department official said, possibly in conjunction with the International Energy Agency, which advises 28 countries, Bloomberg reported.

IEA coordinated release of petroleum reserves last summer, including the U.S. SPR, due to high crude prices.

An Obama administration spokesman said Wednesday that the government had not made a decision on whether to tap the reserve, Bloomberg reported.

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