France discussing strategic oil release with UK, US

March 28, 2012 16:57

PARIS - France is in talks with the United States and Britain on a possible release of strategic oil stocks to push fuel prices lower, French ministers said on Wednesday, four weeks before the country's presidential election.

Earlier in March, British sources said London was prepared to cooperate with Washington on a release of strategic oil stocks that was expected within months, in a bid to prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in what is also a US election year.

France's Energy Minister Eric Besson told journalists after the weekly ministers' meeting that the United States had asked France to join it in a possible emergency inventory release.

Such a release could happen "in a matter of weeks," Le Monde daily said on Wednesday, citing presidential sources. Crude oil prices, which have risen almost 16 percent since the start of the year, fell more than a dollar on the news. "It is the United States which has asked and France has welcomed favorably this hypothesis," Besson said.

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