America’s emergency oil reserves are being drained at an unsustainable pace with no plan to refill it over the long-term. That’s the key takeaway in a brand new opinion piece authored by GAIN Strategic Advisor Patrice Douglas for RealClear Energy. Douglas emphatically writes, “we need a real long-term strategy to keep both energy prices affordable and our country’s oil reserves fully stocked.”
The SPR was created in 1975, following oil supply interruptions during the 1973–1974 oil embargo, in order to mitigate future disruptions during periods of conflict, acts of God or natural disasters. Maintained by the Department of Energy, it is located in underground salt caverns along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana and Texas. The Reserve has a capacity of 727 million barrels, but as of November 17th, had dwindled to just 392 million barrels.
Douglas notes that this unfortunate reality could be entirely avoided. She says President Biden has been using the SPR as “his personal political tool” as a means to “keep prices artificially low.” At the sametime, Douglas writes that the need to even tap the SPR is “an acknowledgment of the president’s hostile oil policies and how they have contributed to the imbalance between supply and demand. This imbalance has caused volatility in the oil markets, resulting in record-high gasoline prices over the summer.”
Instead of draining the SPR, Douglas recommends President Biden tap America’s abundant oil fields, which can be used to actually increase the supply of oil for gasoline. She concludes her opinion piece by saying “we need a real long-term strategy to keep both energy prices affordable and our country’s oil reserves fully stocked. We can accomplish this through building more pipelines, reducing regulatory burdens, reforming our permitting laws, and supporting energy producers.”