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Does Drawing Down the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Help Stabilize Oil Prices?

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  • Kilian, Lutz
  • Zhou, Xiaoqing

Abstract

We study the efficacy of releases from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) within the context of fully specified models of the global oil market that explicitly allow for storage demand as well as unanticipated changes in the SPR. Using novel identifying strategies and evaluation methods, we examine seven questions. First, how much have exogenous shocks to the SPR contributed to the variability in the real price of oil? Second, how much would a one-time exogenous reduction in the SPR lower the real price of oil? Third, are exogenous SPR releases partially or fully offset by increases in private sector oil inventories and how does this response affect the transmission of SPR policy shocks? Fourth, how effective were actual SPR policy interventions, consisting of sequences of exogenous changes in the SPR, at lowering the real price of oil? Fifth, are there differences in the effectiveness of SPR emergency drawdowns and SPR exchanges? Sixth, how much did the creation and expansion of the SPR contribute to higher real oil prices? Finally, how much would selling half of the oil in the SPR, as recently proposed by the White House, lower the global price of oil (and hence the U.S. price of motor gasoline) and how much fiscal revenue would it generate?

Suggested Citation

  • Kilian, Lutz & Zhou, Xiaoqing, 2019. "Does Drawing Down the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Help Stabilize Oil Prices?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13849
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kilian, Lutz & Lee, Thomas K., 2014. "Quantifying the speculative component in the real price of oil: The role of global oil inventories," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 71-87.
    2. Lutz Kilian, 2017. "The Impact of the Fracking Boom on Arab Oil Producers," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
    3. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian, 2010. "What do we learn from the price of crude oil futures?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 539-573.
    4. Kilian, Lutz, 2019. "Measuring global real economic activity: Do recent critiques hold up to scrutiny?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 106-110.
    5. Lutz Kilian, 2016. "The Impact of the Shale Oil Revolution on U.S. Oil and Gasoline Prices," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 185-205.
    6. Lutz Kilian & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2019. "Oil prices, exchange rates, and interest rates," 2019 Meeting Papers 592, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Soren T. Anderson & Ryan Kellogg & Stephen W. Salant, 2018. "Hotelling under Pressure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(3), pages 984-1026.
    8. Renée Fry & Adrian Pagan, 2011. "Sign Restrictions in Structural Vector Autoregressions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 938-960, December.
    9. Hilde C. Bjørnland & Frode Martin Nordvik & Maximilian Rohrer, 2017. "Supply Flexibility in the Shale Patch: Evidence from North Dakota," Working Papers No 2/2017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    10. Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2010. "Structural Vector Autoregressions: Theory of Identification and Algorithms for Inference," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 665-696.
    11. Ana María Herrera & Sandeep Kumar Rangaraju, 2020. "The effect of oil supply shocks on US economic activity: What have we learned?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(2), pages 141-159, March.
    12. Inoue, Atsushi & Kilian, Lutz, 2013. "Inference on impulse response functions in structural VAR models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 177(1), pages 1-13.
    13. Timothy J. Considine, 2006. "Is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve our Ace in the Hole?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 91-112.
    14. Haroon Mumtaz & Paolo Surico, 2009. "The Transmission of International Shocks: A Factor-Augmented VAR Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(s1), pages 71-100, February.
    15. Lutz Kilian, 2010. "Explaining Fluctuations in Gasoline Prices: A Joint Model of the Global Crude Oil Market and the U.S. Retail Gasoline Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 87-112.
    16. Richard G. Newell and Brian C. Prest, 2019. "The Unconventional Oil Supply Boom: Aggregate Price Response from Microdata," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    17. Kilian, Lutz & Zhou, Xiaoqing, 2018. "Modeling fluctuations in the global demand for commodities," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 54-78.
    18. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
    19. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2012. "Why Agnostic Sign Restrictions Are Not Enough: Understanding The Dynamics Of Oil Market Var Models," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1166-1188, October.
    20. Richard G. Newell & Brian C. Prest, 2017. "Informing SPR Policy Through Oil Futures and Inventory Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 23974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Lutz Kilian, 2009. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1053-1069, June.
    22. Jonas E. Arias & Juan F. Rubio‐Ramírez & Daniel F. Waggoner, 2018. "Inference Based on Structural Vector Autoregressions Identified With Sign and Zero Restrictions: Theory and Applications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(2), pages 685-720, March.
    23. Ben Zeev, Nadav, 2018. "What can we learn about news shocks from the late 1990s and early 2000s boom-bust period?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 94-105.
    24. Xiaoqing Zhou, 2019. "Refining the Workhorse Oil Market Model," Working Papers 1910, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    25. Lutz Kilian & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2011. "Are the responses of the U.S. economy asymmetric in energy price increases and decreases?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 419-453, November.
    26. Kilian,Lutz & Lütkepohl,Helmut, 2018. "Structural Vector Autoregressive Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107196575, December.
    27. Brian D. Wright & Jeffrey C. Williams, 1982. "The Roles of Public and Private Storage in Managing Oil Import Disruptions," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 341-353, Autumn.
    28. Xiaoqing Zhou, 2020. "Refining the workhorse oil market model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(1), pages 130-140, January.
    29. Lutz Kilian & Daniel P. Murphy, 2014. "The Role Of Inventories And Speculative Trading In The Global Market For Crude Oil," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 454-478, April.
    30. Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "How sensitive are consumer expenditures to retail energy prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 766-779, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kilian, Lutz, 2019. "Facts and Fiction in Oil Market Modeling," CEPR Discussion Papers 14047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Inoue, Atsushi & Kilian, Lutz, 2020. "The Role of the Prior in Estimating VAR Models with Sign Restrictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 15545, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Baumeister, Christiane & Hamilton, James D., 2020. "Drawing conclusions from structural vector autoregressions identified on the basis of sign restrictions," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    4. Inoue, Atsushi & Kilian, Lutz, 2020. "The Role of the Prior in Estimating VAR Models with Sign Restrictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 15545, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Kilian, Lutz, 2019. "Facts and Fiction in Oil Market Modeling," CEPR Discussion Papers 14047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    counterfactual; crude oil; Expectations; Fiscal policy; oil inventories; Policy intervention; SPR; Storage;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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