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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 21. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 156 -- U.S. Job Creation. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 155 -- Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)-

The Bush administration announced that it would tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to alleviate some of the supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after 9/11, President Bush ordered the SPR filled. Over the past year or two, President Bush caught plenty of flak when his administration continued to fill the SPR when oil was 50 dollars a barrel. But filling the reserve was a priority for national security, so today the reserve is as full as it has ever been and near capacity (727 million barrels).

If OPEC (and the rest of the world) shut down oil shipments to the U.S., we could tap into the SPR for roughly two months and be just fine. The idea there is that two months is plenty of time to liberate a country or two and get the oil flowing again. Two months of no petroleum shipments to the U.S. would also put the serious hurt on the economies of those implementing the embargo. Thus, the existence of the SPR forces countries to think twice before using oil as a geostragetical weapon against America.

Some quick facts on the SPR:

* Average price paid for oil in the Reserve - $27.25 per barrel

* Maximum drawdown capability - 4.4 million barrels per day

* Time for oil to enter U.S. market - 13 days from Presidential decision

* Investment to date - More than $21 billion ($4 billion for facilities; $17 billion for crude oil)

* When did it first open? - On July 21, 1977, the first oil - approximately 412,000 barrels of Saudi Arabian light crude - was delivered to the SPR. Fill of the Nation's emergency oil reserve had begun.

Interestingly, the SPR is stored not in large above-ground tanks but a series of salt formations along the Gulf Coast. We pump oil into the ground, in other words:

Stockpiling oil in artificially-created caverns deep within the rock-hard salt costs historically about $3.50 per barrel in capital costs. Storing oil in aboveground tanks, by comparison, can cost $15 to $18 per barrel - or at least five times the expense. Also, because the salt caverns are 2000-4000 feet below the surface, geologic pressures will seal any crack that develops in the salt formation, assuring that no crude oil leaks from the cavern.

This is another neat national security feature: underground salt caverns, dispersed geographically. No single terrorist attack or other incident could knock out the SPR.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Consumer Confidence.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 August 2005 10:48 PM


Had we listened to John Kerry and the Democrats, the SPR would be empty already. Now we've got a real emergency we can be glad that it's there.

Posted by: Mike on Hilton Head Island at August 31, 2005 10:59 PM

Thanks for posting this.
I copied and blogged.
And added you to the aggregator.

Posted by: Hootsbuddy at September 1, 2005 06:18 AM

I called for this a couple days ago, and am pleased to forward the news here.


The military's plans to assist with recovery efforts don't involve a large-scale shifting of U.S. troops from Afghanistan or Iraq, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said Thursday.
But the Pentagon is looking at ways to bring home from the war zones individual service members whose families suffered from the hurricane and need their help, said Lt. Col. Trey Cate, based in Qatar.

more here:

Posted by: jp at September 1, 2005 11:17 AM

God Bless those people who were in Katrina's path!... Waiting must be so hard!...God's speed to all those in need!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 1, 2005 02:58 PM