DOE will buy 10.7 m barrels (about 120,000 b/d) at $51.76, from Feb 1 to April 30. http://www.ogj.com/display_article/...irst-direct-oil-purchases-for-SPR-since-1994/ While that is tiny compared to daily oil production, Oil has a very low estimated price elasticity. If you believe Verleger's argument ( http://www.pkverlegerllc.com/PKV December Senate Testimony.pdf ), the 8.2 m barrel SPR purchase in Aug-Dec 2007 was the primary driver of the rise in price from $70 to about $100. If one extends his argument, the Jan-May 2008 SPR purchase of 12.3 m barrels may have been a contributor to the rise from $100 to $140s. The DOE was barred from any more SPR purchases until Jan 2009. I wonder if this restart is what drove the increase in spot prices since last Thursday. Regardless of the effect on outright prices, this purchase may be just enough to remove the short-term glut that generated the supercontango on WTI.