Strategic Petroleum Reserve
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The House passed H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, on April 21, 2005 249- 183. The legislation would permanently authorize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve SPR and require, as expeditiously as practicable, expansion of the SPR to its authorized maximum of 1 billion barrels. A comprehensive bill ordered reported from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on May 26, 2005, includes a similar provision. Congress authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve SPR in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act EPCA, P.L. 94-163 to help prevent a repetition of the economic dislocation caused by the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. The program is managed by the Department of Energy DOE. Physically, the SPR comprises five underground storage facilities, hollowed out from naturally occurring salt domes in Texas and Louisiana. The SPR, with a capacity of 727 million barrels, currently holds roughly 692 million barrels. In mid-November 2001, President Bush ordered fill of the SPR to its current capacity of roughly 700 million barrels, principally through oil acquired as royalty-in-kind RIK for production from federal offshore leases. This level will be attained during FY2005. However, the Bush Administration has been periodically criticized for continuing to fill the SPR with RIK crude as crude prices have continued to rise and be volatile. An amendment was accepted during the House Energy and Commerce markup, and included in the bill passed by the House on April 21, 2005, that would suspend RIK fill until the price of crude drops below 40barrel bbl for two weeks. The immediate impact of this provision will depend upon whether comprehensive energy legislation is enacted quickly, or whether the Administration continues RIK fill beyond the 700 million barrel level stipulated in the Presidents November 2001 order. It has not indicated that fill will continue, for the moment, beyond 700 million barrels.
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