Strategic Petroleum Reserve Sale Affect on crude prices

Why is Saudi Arabia's Motiva buying up our SPR? Should we be worried? But more importantly, I'm not sure I understand the nature of how this words. Today's EIA showed a build in crude oil inventories. Yesterday's API looked even worse at over a 5-million barrel build. But this doesn't include the SPR. So are we taking millions of barrels out of the SPR and putting them into regular inventory that will show up as a big build in API/EIA figures? And if so, when should we see this spike? Seems like this will be particularly bad for oil prices. Or am I misunderstanding?

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No, you are not misunderstanding, and YES! SPR sales are essentially crude oil that is not on the EIA books, so to speak, when it comes to straight crude oil inventory. So every time there is a sale from the SPR, that gets moved from one ledger (the SPR) and into another ledge (crude oil inventory excluding SPR). So yes, the sale of the SPR is "bad" for oil prices, if you will, in that it will increase inventory, causing oil prices to drop. How much they will drop is anyone's guess. As for when the oil will show up in the other ledger, so to speak, I believe the shipments are to take place in "April and May"--so I would expect it to not show up in a single week, but perhaps--quite mercifully--spread over a couple of weeks. Great question! 

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