White House Chief of Staff William Daley said on Sunday that high oil prices have the potential to hamper the nation’s economic recovery.
"I think there's a sense that this recovery is real and is strong and is growing," Daley said on NBC's Meet the Press. "But there are factors like the price of energy that can have a serious impact on it."
Daley said President Obama is concerned and the administration has been coordinating with international organizations to address the issue. Though the ongoing violence in Libya has driven up the per-barrel cost of oil, Daley said consumption concerns go beyond the current turmoil.
"There is also not only uncertainty in the Middle East, you have an increasing demand worldwide as the economic difficulties of the last three years begin to improve," he told host David Gregory. "And as you mentioned, we've seen an increase in the economy."
One option the Obama administration is considering is tapping into the 727 million barrels in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
"We're looking at the options. The issue of the reserve is one we are considering," Daley said.
But he was quick to add any decision would depend on a wide range of factors. "It is something that only is done and has been done on very rare occasions," he said.
The last sale was in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina caused a sharp drop in Gulf of Mexico production.