President Donald Trump’s proposal to sell almost half of the U.S. emergency oil stock is sparking once again the debate about whether the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is still necessary, in the midst of an ongoing production of oil-boom has seen that U.S. imports fall drastically in the last ten years.
Trump the budget, unveiled on Tuesday, calls for the sale of an additional 270 million barrels of oil in the next ten years, increasing from an estimated $16.6 billion. The proposal, on the upper side of the planned auctions expected in the next few years, the reserve could push below 300 million barrels in the year 2025. It is now at 688 million barrels.
The petroleum reserve, has been in the course of the 1970s, the Arab oil embargo, stores oil at four underground locations in Texas and Louisiana. The reserve protects against disturbances in the flow of oil from the Middle East and other countries and legislators of both parties have long warned not to use it to raise money.
But some Republicans say that North Dakota’s oil-rich Bakken region provides a de facto reserve that may be tapped if necessary.
“You know the world very changed in the last ten years,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., a leading member of the house energy Committee. “We are one of the largest oil producers in the world.”
Asked whether he was concerned that Trump’s proposal could lead to a reduction of the reserve, Shimkus laughed. “Not if you North Dakota, and Dakota (Access) to the Pipeline,” he said.
Not all of the Republican votes.
The petroleum reserve “is not an ATM for new spending,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in 2015, as the Obama administration proposed to help the sale of a small part of the reserve, a budget agreement.
Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Senate energy Committee, was the Trump the check ‘ s proposal, but “generally opposed the sale of emergency oil reserves, especially as the pay-fors that said, for non-related measures,” a spokeswoman on Wednesday.
Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state, the senior Democrat on the energy panel, vowed to defeat Trump’s plan.
“We are not going to let Donald Trump auctioning off our energy security to the highest bidder,” she said.
To keep “the SPR energy is available and affordable in times of crisis or natural disaster, which helps low-income communities the most,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.
To pay sale to the reserve “for tax cuts for the extremely rich is particularly cruel,” Grijalva said, calling the plan a “short-sighted benefit of oil billionaires.”
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the planned sale would not risk to a safety, relying on increased oil production from fracking and other drilling techniques that opened up areas previously out of reach.
Should the sale prices no impact on global oil, as you would a targeted, staged over a decade, said Mulvaney.
“I don’t need to take as much of your money and bury it in the ground out in West Texas somewhere for the internal security and national security, if we are going to do domestic surpluses, such as it is,” he said at a budget briefing this week.
Jason Bordoff, Director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, has warned that the sale of large parts of the reserve to a price spike, if there is a supply disruption in Venezuela or elsewhere.
“National security asset of the SPR helps a pillow. It would be foolish to sell, because of a domestic oil production boom, the longevity of which remains somewhat uncertain,” said Bordoff, who served as an energy adviser to President Barack Obama.
Energy analyst Kevin book said appears to be selling all the 270 million barrels of “heavy lift” in Congress, there’s likely to be opposition from Murkowski, Cantwell and other legislators. But the book also said that some of the other sales through those, the now planned “seem more than likely.”
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., Chairman of the house energy Committee, said the reserve “made sense when we were hostage to other. But now with a change in the landscape, it calls for a review.”