March 1, 2012 / 5:31 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Boehner sees little Obama support for tapping oil reserve

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WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday President Barack Obama does not seem to support releasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way to curb rising gasoline prices.

"It didn't appear to me that the president believes using SPR would have any meaningful effect on gas prices," Boehner told reporters in reference to a meeting that congressional leaders held with Obama on Wednesday.

The White House has been weighing a possible release of oil from the federal oil reserve, which was created in the 1970s to help the United States cope with supply emergencies.

Some leading Democrats in Congress have been encouraging Obama, who is seeking re-election in November, to tap the reserve as retail gasoline prices have been marching steadily toward $4 a gallon.

Boehner said that "just releasing SPR without coordination with our allies throughout the world, all it does is shift where the supply is coming from."

Last year, the Obama administration ordered a release of oil from the reserve in coordination with a drawdown by other International Energy Agency member countries. The move was in response to supply concerns over turmoil in Libya, a producer of high-quality oil. The action briefly pushed prices down.

World oil prices have been rising on tensions caused by sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and in the run-up to the higher-demand summer driving season in the United States. Western countries say Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

As fuel prices soar in the election year, Obama administration officials have held out the possibility of tapping the oil reserve. Obama's lunchtime meeting on Wednesday with congressional leaders focused on energy policy and job creation legislation. (Reporting By Richard Cowan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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