Cameron and Obama talk oil reserves

The BBC has learned that Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama discussed the possibility of releasing emergency oil reserves when they met in Washington yesterday.

Though no final decision was taken this is a sign of President Obama's concern at the high level of US fuel - petrol or "gas" - prices.

The UK has previously released oil from its reserves as part of co-ordinated efforts to dampen soaring global oil prices.

Some close to the prime minister point to this as one of the things which Mr Cameron can do to be helpful to President Obama.

Both the prime minister and the president are known to be extremely concerned that instability in the Middle East and talk of a war between Israel and Iran could drive up oil prices with serious consequences for global economic recovery.

UPDATE 2215 GMT: What do you know. The first words Barack Obama delivered publicly after David Cameron's departure from Washington were on the problem of US gas prices.

The idea of releasing oil stocks has happened twice before. In June last year the UK and its partners in the International Energy Agency (IEA) released 60 million barrels of oil with the UK contributing three million.

It's happened before too - in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and at the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990/91.