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Oklahoma-based Domestic Energy Producers Alliance is critical of decision to open oil reserve

The head of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance panned the Obama administration's plan to sell 30 million barrels of oil from the nation's emergency supply.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: June 24, 2011

The Obama administration isn't getting any more popular with Oklahoma's oil and natural gas industry, despite the announcement Thursday of plans to sell 30 million barrels of oil from the country's emergency reserves.

Mike Cantrell, president of the Oklahoma-based Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, called the plan a “cruel game of ‘bait and switch'” meant to allow the administration to claim credit for gas prices that were falling already.

Cantrell said there is no reason to tap the country's strategic petroleum reserve.

“We call it ‘strategic' because the reserve is intended for national security emergencies,” he said. “The release of what amounts to 36 hours of oil into a market that is already correcting downward is merely a cynical attempt to take advantage of already falling gasoline prices when they have done nothing to affect that correction.

“The only real effect this action will have is to drain down our reserve and without even making a dent in the real price of gasoline.”

The International Energy Agency intends to release an additional 30 million barrels of oil.

Darryl Smette, Devon Energy Corp.'s executive vice president of marketing and midstream, said he doesn't expect the move to affect prices, despite a slight dip Thursday.

“Considering worldwide oil demand is 88 million barrels per day, we do not believe 60 million barrels from the strategic reserve will make a material difference in the market,” Smette said. “The market reaction we saw today was driven by optics and emotion.

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