Republican senators: U.S. oil reserves should be kept for emergency

WASHINGTON Mon Oct 1, 2012 6:05pm EDT

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012. Picture taken March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012. Picture taken March 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Strategic reserves of oil should be kept for true supply shocks seven top Republicans in the Senate told President Barack Obama on Monday, urging the White House to avoid tapping stockpiles unless there is a "severe" disruption.

The White House has said for months it was considering the merits of selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR, as a tool for dealing with oil prices spooked higher by Middle East tensions and Western restrictions on Iranian oil sales.

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and six other senators told Obama in a letter that despite tensions, "we have not yet seen the discrete event that directly affects our oil supply and justifies tapping our reserves.

"The SPR is America's rainy-day fund," the senators said.

"We ask you to preserve it for a truly rainy day with an unanticipated energy or severe supply disruption occurs," said the letter, also signed by Jon Kyl, John Thune, John Cornyn, Roy Blunt, James Inhofe and John Barrasso.

Cornyn said a release would be a "political raid" of the SPR ahead of the November 6 presidential election.

Current reserves are about 695 million barrels stored in salt caverns designed to hold a total of 727 million barrels. The government loaned 1 million barrels last month to refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp due to shortages caused by Hurricane Isaac.

The senators also asked the White House to provide a "detailed plan" explaining how the administration will refill the SPR after selling 30 million barrels last year, when a civil war in Libya cut the country's oil exports.

That move lowered prices only for a few weeks. "Even if your administration flooded the market with the entire remaining SPR stock, it would cause barely a ripple in the price of oil and gasoline," the senators said.

(Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker and Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Joshua Schneyer in New York; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (13)
akcoins wrote:
I have been saying that for years. Let the rest of the world worry 20 years from now how to heat their homes, run their cars, etc., etc..

Oct 01, 2012 6:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
How about outlawing the exportation of American oil, so we don’t have to rely on the SPR, as much, for that rainy day?

Oct 01, 2012 6:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jeff81201 wrote:
I agree with these guys but find their sentiments existing only for politics – they’ve been quite happy to raid the reserves before.

What a bunch of shallow a$$holes we have as politicians in this country. Social good? Welfare of the nation? Nah. Power. Profit. Self interest. Poll watching.


Oct 01, 2012 6:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.