Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a U.S. Government complex of four sites with deep underground storage caverns created in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast that store emergency supplies of crude oil.

  • Current inventory: Click to open inventory update window
  • Highest inventory - On April 2, 2008, the SPR inventory exceeded 700 million barrels, the highest level ever previously held. The former record was reached in late August 2005, just days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, causing the SPR to conduct emergency releases. Repayment of the Katrina loans and resumption of the RIK program (in 2007) has restored the inventory to its former level and beyond.
  • Current storage capacity - 727 million barrels
  • Current days of import protection in SPR - 58 days (Maximum days of import protection in SPR - 118 days in 1985)
  • International Energy Agency requirement - 90 days of import protection (both public and private stocks)
    (SPR and private company import protection - approximately 118 days)
  • Average price paid for oil in the Reserve - $28.42 per barrel

Drawdown Capability

  • Maximum drawdown capability - 4.4 million barrels per day
  • Time for oil to enter U.S. market - 13 days from Presidential decision
Strategic Petroleum Reserve Inventory August 2008

Iran has threatened to blockade the Straits Of Hormuz should its nuclear facilities be attacked. Should we look for a drawdown of reserves from the SPR in advance of an attack, since it takes 13 days to get reserves from the SPR to market, or would that send too loud a warning?

Due to security concerns, the exact location of the SPR storage sites has been removed from the DOE's web sites. However, this map remains:

Location of Strategic Petroleum Reserve Storage Sites

If you are any good at Google Maps you can likely spot the locations yourself. This is left as an exercise for the reader. Sometimes security is more about CYA than security.

More on politics and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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