why on earth would our Strategic Reserve be released to anyone else?
The idea is to manipulate world oil prices by increasing the global supply of oil. The oil market is global. At the moment, the US oil supply chain has all the oil it needs. Everyone can buy all they want, it's just that the price is high. Selling oil only to US customers wouldn't make sense, since there isn't a supply shortage in the US. Where would those US drivers put the extra oil?
But there is high demand globally which is pushing up the global price, making it expensive for US refiners to buy oil in the global market. So the idea is that releasing more oil from the strategic reserve into the global market will increase the global supply and help to push the global price of oil down. That makes it cheaper for US oil refiners to buy oil. It would also leave US drillers with less profit. Give and take, I guess. The big oil producing countries play the same game. They adjust their production to try to keep global prices where they want. The word is "fungible". It's all just oil, and it's one big global pool of oil reacting to the supply and demand of the market.
The amount of oil from the reserves would last 3-4 days in the US.
Seems closer to 2-3 days. But apparently 50 million is nearly twice as much as the largest previous release. The more interesting detail is that apparently the entire strategic reserve is only about 1/10th of the yearly consumption of the US. I guess it's hard to store 6.6 billion barrels of oil, but I kind of figured the US had more than 1 month of reserve.