The move was made in concert with the International Energy Agency (IEA), partly to assist countries like Italy that are highly dependent on Libyan oil. With the U.S. tapping into its strategic reserve, European nations will be able to draw more from Nigerian and Algerian crude, reports John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss.
While a press release from the Department of Energy emphasizes the worldwide benefits, it also recognizes the U.S. interest:
"As the United States enters the months of July and August, when demand is typically highest, prices remain significantly higher than they were prior to the start of the unrest in Libya."
Created in the 1970s during the Middle East oil crisis, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is rarely tapped.