The Obama administration will call on other Group of Eight economies this week to support a release of strategic oil reserves as the European Union readies for a complete ban on oil from Iran this summer, according to a report from Japan's Kyodo News.
President Obama is expected to bring up the issue during a two-day G-8 summit at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland this weekend, calling on countries to help curb oil-price increases that could result from tighter sanctions on Tehran in response to Iran's nuclear ambitions. The issue is expected to be on the agenda when leaders discuss energy policy on Saturday, according to Kyodo News, which also reports that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to support Obama's call for solidarity. Japan has the second-largest emergency supply of oil, just behind the United States.
A release could be timed to coincide with Europe's full ban on oil from Iran, which takes effect July 1, according to the news report.
"I have no information to impart on that subject," White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a briefing on Wednesday.
Though the Obama administration denied reports last month that it had struck a deal with Britain to tap the reserves, Carney did say that energy issues were "on the table" when British Prime Minister James Cameron was in Washington.
Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last summer, as part of an effort coordinated by the International Energy Agency, which released 60 billion barrels of oil into the market as well. The coordinated action was in response to supply disruptions amid unrest in Libya.
For his part, House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Edward Markey, D-Mass., a longtime supporter of a strategic release of oil reserves, said that he is happy Obama is keeping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the conversation.
"By keeping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the table for the last few months, the president has helped to hold down prices since releases from the reserve could cause Wall Street speculators' oil price bets to lose a lot of money," he said.
"Going forward, the uncertainties arising from Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the prospect of economic sanctions against Tehran, justifies the president's coalition-building to deploy oil reserves if needed to protect American drivers and the world economy."