WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - The United States could begin purchasing U.S. produced crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in as soon as two weeks and fill it in several months, an Energy Department source said on Monday.
President Donald Trump said late on Friday that he has ordered the Energy Department to fill the reserve. The move was aimed at helping domestic energy producers suffering from the plunge in oil prices brought about by the spread of coronavirus and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Energy Department has said the reserve has the capacity to take an additional 77 million barrels of crude. It is uncertain how such a purchase will be funded by the government. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)