Mar 15 - British Prime Minister David Cameron, on a visit to the U.S., says he would consider releasing strategic oil reserves to quell soaring fuel prices. Sasha Salama reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Following a meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, British sources say the U.K. will cooperate with the U.S. in a bilateral deal to release government-controlled oil reserves. During an event at New York University, Prime Minister Cameron said the idea of releasing strategic reserves is worth looking at. SOUNDBITE: U.K. PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Short-term, should we look at reserves? Yes we should." While one source says the U.S. is expected to make a formal request to the U.K. shortly, an official from the Obama administration says the White House hasn't struck any deals on opening up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Whether or not a deal is imminent, some analysts say its potential impact would be mostly symbolic since the U.S. has far greater strategic oil stocks than the U.K. has. Fadel Gheit is managing director of oil and gas at Oppenheimer and Company. SOUNDBITE: FADEL GHEIT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, OPPENHEIMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The UK has very little strategic petroleum reserve. Releasing all their strategic petroleum reserve is not going to move the needle. But it will send a clear message that we are not going to tolerate excessive speculation that will inflate oil prices more than they're already inflated by." Crude oil prices have rallied 16% this year as new sanctions from the U.S. and Europe have begun to cut crude exports from Iran. Gasoline has followed suit. And, in this presidential election year, rising gas prices are one reason President Obama's approval ratings have come under pressure. The President talked about energy issues at a speech to a Maryland community college. SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to high gas prices. There's no silver bullet. Anybody who tells you otherwise isn't really looking for a solution." As one energy expert put it, because the Obama Administration can only take so much political pain from rising gas prices, use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is more a matter of when - than if. Sasha Salama, Reuters.