US Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have introduced the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act, bipartisan legislation to allow the US Department of Energy (DOE) to lease unused storage capacity at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
The SPR currently has a crude oil storage capacity of 713.5 million bbls and an inventory of approximately 660 million bbls. As the DOE withdraws oil to meet congressionally mandated sales in the years ahead – approximately 250 million bbls by 2028 – roughly 45% of the SPR’s storage capacity will be unused, according to a statement on Cassidy’s web site.
The SPR Reform Act authorises the DOE to conduct a pilot programme to lease spare SPR capacity to the private sector and foreign governments. The legislation requires the US energy secretary to ensure that any lease entered into with a private entity or foreign government will not impair the national security of the US or its ability to use the SPR.
The SPR is comprised of 62 underground storage caverns that were solution-mined from naturally occurring salt domes located at four sites, two in Texas and two in Louisiana. The Bayou Choctaw storage site is located in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, approximately 12 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Bayou Choctaw currently has six storage caverns, an authorised storage capacity of 76 million bbls and a cavern inventory of 71.8 million bbls. The West Hackberry storage site is located in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, approximately 25 miles southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana. West Hackberry currently has 21 storage caverns, an authorised storage capacity of 220.4 million bbls and a cavern inventory of 199.5 million bbls.
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