The Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, a subsidiary of Saudi oil giant Aramco, is one of six companies to buy 18.1 million barrels of crude oil from the US’ Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Thursday.

Motiva, the largest oil refinery in the US, processes over 600,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

The DOE said a total of 14 companies responded to the sale announcement on Dec. 17 of 18 million barrels of SPR crude oil through the submission of 111 bids for evaluation.

Among the companies who won bids were ExxonMobil, Gunvor, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, Valero and Motiva Enterprises.

According to the DOE, the SPR deliveries were scheduled between Feb. 1 and March 31 with the possibility of early deliveries in January if arrangements can be made.

The sales are part of an earlier US move to release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s SPR, the largest petroleum stockpile in the world used for emergencies.

The move came after US President Joe Biden had repeatedly asked OPEC+ producers to increase the group’s collective output to provide additional market supply to lower crude prices.

However, the group did not relent to his demands and agreed to adhere to the cartel’s production pact of 400,000 bpd in December last year and January and February this year.

The US SPR sales later led to a coordinated effort with other major energy-consuming nations in releasing reserves in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

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