WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. government has agreed to sell crude oil from the nation's emergency reserve to eight companies including Exxon, Chevron and Valero, under a scheduled auction to raise money for the U.S. budget, the Department of Energy said.
The sales were not related to energy disruptions caused by Hurricane Ida that swept the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, but the timing could still ease some of those supply strains.
The contracts total 20 million barrels of oil to be delivered from Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites in Texas and Louisiana between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15, the department said in a statement dated Sept. 10 that appeared online on Monday.
Contracts went to Atlantic Trading & Marketing Inc, an arm of French company Total (TTEF.PA) Chevron USA (CVX.N), ExxonMobil Oil Corp (XOM.N), Marathon Petroleum Supply and Trading (MPC.N), Motiva Enterprises (MOTIV.UL), Phillips 66 Co (PSX.N), Unipec America Inc and Valero Marketing and Supply Co (VLO.N), the department said.
Fifteen companies made bids for the oil.
The department called for bids on Aug. 23 to comply with legislation mandating the sale from the emergency oil reserve.
The sale comes as oil prices are at a one-week high above $70.60 a barrel for U.S. WTI, amid supply concerns over storm damage from Hurricane Ida. read more About three-quarters of the offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, or about 1.4 million bpd, has remained halted since late August.
The SPR, held in a series of salt caverns, held 621.3 million barrels as of Aug. 27, nearly 70% of which is so-called sour oil, high in sulfur.
Earlier this month, the Energy Department authorized loans of SPR crude to Exxon and Placid Refining Company LLC's refineries in the Baton Rouge area totaling 3.3 million barrels to help them cope with the dearth of oil coming from the U.S. Gulf. read more
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