US decision on crude buy tenders soon

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New Delhi, Apr 4 (UNI) The US government is expected to take a decision soon about issuing tenders for buying crude oil for strategic reserves.

''We will be making a decision going forward whether or not to fill and when to fill. We will be making a decision fairly shortly. Whether we will make that public or not, I'm not sure,'' Energy Under Secretary Bud Albright told reporters here today.

The US Department of Energy is in the early stages of boosting the reserve to one billion barrels by expanding two existing sites and creating a new one in Mississippi.

Mr Albright said the decision to issue tenders was based on a number of criteria, including market conditions.

He added that the gasoline demand in the US has also declined marginally.

''We are starting to see some lessening of demand in gasoline...

This is, I think, the first time in the last few months. It is not a huge change...As I understood it, it's been minimal thus far.'' According to the data issued by the US Energy Information Administration, US gasoline demand over the first 13 weeks of 2008 has fallen 81,000 bpd from the same period in 2007.

UNI MP SR PM1937

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