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Mnuchin Calls for U.S. to Buy as Much as $20 Billion in Oil

Saleha Mohsin and Kathleen Miller

(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will recommend President Donald Trump ask Congress for as much as $20 billion to keep the Strategic Petroleum Reserve full for a decade.

“Let’s go out and buy,” Mnuchin said in a Fox Business Network interview. “Fill up the reserve.”

Trump has already said he wants to take advantage of a crash in oil prices to fill the SPR. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery, which expires Friday, climbed $1.70 to $22.07 a barrel as of 8:55 a.m. in New York.

“At $22 for WTI crude we should be filling up the reserve for the next 10 years,” Mnuchin said. “We are energy independent, but obviously at these prices we’re going to have issues producing energy.”

The Department of Energy said in a statement Thursday that Trump has instructed the agency to fill the reserve “to its maximum capacity by purchasing 77 million barrels of American-made crude oil.”

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