(Reuters) – President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves during a meeting on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the talks said, the first sign that Obama is starting to test global support for an effort to knock back near-record fuel prices. Obama raised the issue during a broad bilateral meeting at the White House, according to a UK official with knowledge of the discussion.
Asked about the talks, a senior Obama administration official said: “No agreement was reached. We will continue to work together to address energy security and oil price issues.” While U.S. officials have said for weeks that they will consider all possible measures – including a release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) – to prevent prices from derailing a nascent economic recovery, Wednesday’s meeting was the clearest indication that diplomatic talks were moving ahead. Discussions could last as long as several months before any decision is made, one of the sources said.
Obama’s approval ratings have come under pressure from rising gasoline prices, which have hit seasonal record highs, and the White House is eager to show exasperated Americans that it is doing all it can to keep fuel costs in check.