Today, the president has decided to release 30 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (“SPR”) in a coordinated effort with the International Energy Agency to release a combined total of 60 million barrels over the coming months. This decision demonstrates the fragility of our nation’s energy security and the unwillingness of the president to do what is necessary to ensure we have future supplies available.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the SPR is “the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil.” I emphasize the word emergency because I don’t believe that current circumstances justify such unprecedented international action.
In the IEA’s 37-year history, it has only intervened in the market twice: 1) after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 and 2) after Hurricane Katrina damaged offshore rigs, pipelines, and refineries in Gulf of Mexico in 2005. Both instances were substantial and imminent threats to global oil markets. The administration’s paltry justification directs blame at Libyan supply disruptions despite the fact that these disruptions have been occurring for a number of months.
Yes, gas prices are high and the economic recovery is unstable, but to open the SPR for political considerations sets a dangerous precedent moving forward. Instead of tapping into our emergency reserves, the President would be better off tapping into our own domestic energy supplies.