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Trump administration proposes selling 15 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 11, 2020
The Trump administration has proposed selling 15 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), according to the White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, which runs from October this year through September next year.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Energy in America   Strategic Petroleum Reserve
The budget proposal, which requires approval from Congress, called for the Department of Energy to sell 15 million barrels of SPR crude oil to fund other department priorities, including the environmental remediation of an oil field in Elk Hills, California.

Topics: Trump oil reserve

The SPR, the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, was established by the U.S. federal government in the 1970s primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products.

It has been tapped only three times over 40 years, most recently in 2011 when the U.S. withdrew 30 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR to offset supply disruptions in Libya.

As of Jan. 31, the SPR held 635 million barrels of crude oil, including 384.7 million barrels of sour crude and 250.3 million barrels of sweet crude.

Consistent with past budget requests, the Trump administration also proposed to disestablish the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) and sell 1 million barrels of refined product currently held in the reserve.

"The NGSR is very costly to maintain, has not been used for its intended purpose, and is not a practical solution for a severe supply interruption, as, for example, the reserve would only be able to meet one day's worth of gasoline demand in the Northeast States," the budget proposal said.

In addition, the Trump administration called for the Department of Energy to sell federally-owned and operated electricity assets, which would save an estimated 4.1 billion U.S. dollars over 10 years.

"Selling these assets would encourage a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigate unnecessary risks to taxpayers," said the budget proposal, which requested 35.4 billion dollars for the Department of Energy, an 8.1-percent decrease from the 2020 enacted level of 38.5 billion dollars.