Strategic Petroleum Reserve and Refined Product Reserves: Authorization and Drawdown Policy [March 11, 2011] [open pdf - 215KB]
"Congress authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA, P.L. 94-163) to help prevent a repetition of the economic dislocation caused by the 1973-1974 Arab oil embargo. The Department of Energy (DOE) manages the SPR, which comprises five underground storage facilities, solution-mined from naturally occurring salt domes in Texas and Louisiana. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) authorized SPR expansion to a capacity of 1 billion barrels, but physical expansion of the SPR has not proceeded beyond 727 million barrels �"� its inventory at the end of 2010. In addition, a Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve (NHOR) holds 2 million barrels of heating oil in above-ground storage. EPCA authorized drawdown of the Reserve upon a finding by the President that there is a 'severe energy supply interruption.' Congress enacted additional authority in 1990 (Energy Policy and Conservation Act Amendments of 1990, P.L. 101-383) to permit use of the SPR for short periods to resolve supply interruptions stemming from situations internal to the United States. The meaning of a 'severe energy supply interruption' has been controversial. EPCA intended use of the SPR only to ameliorate discernible physical shortages of crude oil. The government had ended the practice of purchasing crude oil to fill the SPR in 1994. In 2000, the Department of Energy began acquiring SPR oil through royalty-in-kind (RIK) in lieu of cash royalties paid on production from federal offshore leases. In May 2008, Congress passed legislation (P.L. 110-232) ordering DOE to suspend RIK fill for the balance of the calendar year unless the price of crude oil dropped below $75/barrel. Crude oil prices spiked to $147/barrel in the summer of 2008 and then sharply declined, allowing a resumption of fill. These activities have brought the SPR essentially to its current 727 million barrel inventory. The current Secretary of the Interior recently announced his intention to terminate the RIK program."
CRS Report for Congress, R41687
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html