Explainer: What is the SPR, the emergency oil stash Biden may tap?

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A maze of crude oil pipes and valves is pictured during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – The Biden administration is considering tapping the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to cool oil prices in conjunction with other big consumers like China and Japan.

Such a move may not have a long-term impact on dampening U.S. oil prices that hit a seven-year high above $85 a barrel in late October, analysts say.

Releasing oil could allow the Biden administration to fend off criticism ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that it has done little to counter rising prices. By moving in tandem with other big consumers like China and Japan, it could also allow Biden to say he took action after Saudi Arabia and Russia, members of the OPEC+ production group, resisted U.S. calls to pump more oil into global markets.

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