• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • No Reason to Tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    In response to OPEC’s inability to come to agreement on boosting oil production, the White House indicated that it would not shy away from tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which holds 700 million barrels of unrefined petroleum reserves in underground salt caverns, in order to smooth over oil supply disruptions originating from the Libyan conflict. A temporary oil price increase, however, is not a valid reason to tap into the U.S. emergency oil supply, which is, after all, a national security asset.

    Although President Obama’s approval ratings have been suffering under the heavy burden of high gas prices across the country, national security interests—not politics—should guide the use of America’s SPR. As Heritage policy experts James Carafano and Nick Loris explain:

    The SPR, managed by the Department of Energy (DOE), exists for moments of national crisis when there is a dramatic disruption in oil supplies. The current high prices at the pump are a national concern—but playing politics with a national security asset is not the way to address the problem.

    A brief review of OPEC’s history further suggests that the lack of agreement among the cartel members is no surprise, nor should it be a major source of concern. Saudi Arabia and its allies are perfectly capable of increasing—and likely will increase—its own oil output in spite of the OPEC disarray, because it is in its interest to avert crushing oil price increases from the Libyan disruption. Reuters market analyst John Kemp even suggests that output will increase beyond what would otherwise have been the case had OPEC been able to reach agreement.

    The failed ministerial conference has pushed OPEC to the sidelines and will ensure oil supply decisions are made in Riyadh—unconstrained by the concerns of other cartel members. That probably means a more dovish approach that sees more barrels coming to market because Riyadh is far more concerned about the political and economic damage from soaring oil prices than Iran, Venezuela and some of the other cartel members.

    Price hawks like Iran and Venezuela have overplayed their hand. Paradoxically, failure to reach a consensus means output will rise more sharply and openly in the coming months than it would have done otherwise.

    Nevertheless, there are important actions that the U.S. should take to stabilize oil prices in the long term. The U.S. could increase access to oil reserves onshore and offshore by (1) speeding up lengthy permitting processes, (2) removing any moratoria that prevent drilling in places like Alaska and most of the outer continental shelf, and (3) increasing the sale of leases to domestic oil reserves. These measures could help offset rising global oil demand while also strengthening America’s strategic position among oil-exporting countries.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to No Reason to Tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    1. Jax Tico says:

      Americans have always risen to the challenge. If we collectively decided it is important to Drill Baby Drill, we can mobilize the full weight of American effort and have crude flowing into our refineries within years not decades. Once we get the federal government off our backs, we could be energy independent and the nation would be prosperous again in no time flat. The price of everything would decrease.

      Crude oil, natural gas, and coal are gifts from God. He created it all for us. He gave us dominion over the land, seas, and skies for a reason. He blessed this New World with a vision of freedom and more of everything for a reason. Our statist establishment politicians know they will be irrelevant when We The People are finally able to control the engine of our economy, and they will fight us every step of the way.

      But we will drag them kicking and screaming to our promised land. They keep yelling about how they have to protect the planet and our children from us. "Its not fair, it not fair," they say, "think of the children, the planet, the poor delta smelt and dessert lizards, and the polar bears we mustn't forget about the polar bears." The thing is that we have the "New Media" now and "they" will not get away with these overblown lies much longer. Americans are awake and paying attention and we have been acting collectively lately by identifying and calling out those who would oppress us with lies.

      Keep up the good work Patriots, remain vigilant and together we will bring our nation back to the founding principles that have been the envy of the world since our inception. http://www.freewethepeople.com

    2. William says:

      Obama and crew are not interested in long term solutions to the price of oil and gasoline because high prices fit their agenda to force us into "green" technologies, which ironically are MORE costly than energy produced from coal and other sources.

      Look for Obama to try and give the impression that their energy policies are working by releasing oil from the strategic reserve to cause prices to go down a little so they can say that their policies are working, they just need more time, i.e, "don't throw us out of office in 2012".

      We'll see how many fall for this trick.

    3. William says:

      It's ironic also that the very people that say the US uses more of the oil reserves in the world than anyone else, stands in the way of us going after our own.

      This is the epitome of insanity, and lying hypocrisy.

      I hope this comment makes it past the censor this time. If this rhetoric is too harsh for you, you'd better not listen to what Ronald Reagan said about Jimmy Carters' destruction of this nation. Reagan's comments wouldn't pass muster on here, if mine don't.

    4. Miriam says:

      This is just another Government scam that there pulling on the American people to increase profits for oil companies car industries an Revenue for United States Government. It happened before it should be no suprise that there doing it again it worked great the last time . Rationing gas… Gas went from 25 cents to $ 1.69 an then we suddenly had plenty. Check it out it wasn't that many years ago.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.