The US government will release 30 million barrels of crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) in conjunction with other oil consuming nations, the US Department of Energy said on Friday.
It is a part of the efforts by 26 countries in an international energy consortium which has agreed to release more than 60 million barrels of crude oil and gasoline to relieve the energy crunch caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States.
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman called this an initial response, part of what he called an aggressive federal response to the hurricane disaster.
"We have made it known that we are facing shortfalls in available supplies of refined products in our country as a consequence of this storm," Bodman said at a news conference.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement that its member countries "unanimously support" the measures, which will take effect for an initial period of 30 days. The IEA board will meet in two weeks to review the situation, it said.