The Biden administration released a fact sheet saying it would start refilling the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve when oil prices are between $67 and $72 per barrel, with the SPR continuing to edge lower and tally 405 million barrels in the week to October 14, OilPrice reports. 

Oil prices were flat on Friday as fears of an economic slowdown were countered by a decline in OPEC+ production and news that China may be easing its Covid restrictions. As President Biden’s announcement of a 15-million-barrel SPR release (the remaining volume of the 180 million barrels initially suggested) failed to stir the market, prices have trended sideways in recent trading sessions, with ICE Brent hovering around the $92 per barrel mark. 

The increasingly bearish US outlook, with the Federal Reserve confirming that it would keep raising its short-term target to fight inflation, has been offset by news of easing Chinese COVID restrictions and OPEC+ crude flows having already recorded a month-on-month decline in October.  

OPEC’s secretary general Haitham al-Ghais said that the oil industry will need a total of $12.1 trillion of investment to meet a 23% increase in global energy demand by 2045, with most of the upcoming increase coming from gas utilization in Asia and Africa. 

“Oil price volatility means that no investments are being made”

Haitham Al-Ghais, Secretary-General of OPEC, linked investment in the oil sector to market stability, stating that the oil industry requires $12 trillion in investments until 2045, and that “these funds are difficult to be pumped by countries and companies unless there is stability in energy markets.”

According to Al Ghais, oil price volatility means that no investments are being made. In response to criticism of the OPEC+ alliance’s decision to cut output, he confirmed that the decision was made unanimously, and added, “The decisions are purely technical… We send no messages, neither politically nor economically… We do not aim for any price.”

He also stated that OPEC considers the interests of both producing and consuming countries, indicating the desire of countries he did not name to join the organization. The statements of OPEC’s Secretary-General come amid US criticism of the production cut decision, which Saudi Arabia rejected earlier last week.