U.S. More Than Triples Release From Strategic Oil Reserve

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. has approved the release of 4.5 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to Harvey, more than tripling the amount announced Thursday.

The Energy Department will deliver 3 million barrels to Marathon Petroleum Corp. and 500,000 barrels to Valero Energy Corp. from its Bayou Choctaw site about 12 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That comes on top of 1 million previously approved.

"Without trying to affect the market place, we are trying to be as stable as we can, making sure folks can, in fact, have access to gasoline," Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Bloomberg Television. Perry said he sees about a “two-week bump" in gasoline prices from the storm, which made landfall in Texas last Friday.

The department announced Thursday two releases of 500,000 barrels each in response to a request by Phillips 66 for oil to feed its Lake Charles refinery in Louisiana. The agreement requires the recipient to replace the oil once supplies are flowing again. Perry said the department approved an additional 3.5 million barrels in the past 24 hours.

About 22 percent of U.S. refining capacity and 13 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil output is offline because of Hurricane Harvey.