Saturday, April 5, 2008


Sometimes it's news that something is going along as scheduled.

WASHINGTON (AP)-- The Energy Department said Friday it would continue putting oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve even as crude oil prices remain above $100 a barrel.

It's sort of interesting to read this story -- it sounds like the Bush administration has been put in a position of having to defend their own continued acquisition of oil -- a stockpile practice begun after the oil embargo of the 70s, designed to buffer any economic havoc wreaked by rising oil prices.

As in now... so some in Washington are complaining that it's not a good time to be putting oil away.

"The administration's policy of diverting oil into the government reserve at a time of high prices has been criticized by some congressional Democrats. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has urged a suspension of deliveries to the reserve.

''Not only are taxpayers being fleeced by paying that much for oil, but the effect of taking valuable oil, like sweet crude oil, off the market has a disproportionate effect on oil prices,'' Dorgan has argued.

Energy Department officials have countered that the amount of oil being put into the reserve is too small to affect the oil markets, which globally consume 86 million barrels of oil a day."

I don't know -- an oil reserve seems like a good idea.

"Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes advocated the stockpiling of emergency crude oil in 1944. President Truman's Minerals Policy Commission proposed a strategic oil supply in 1952. President Eisenhower suggested an oil reserve after the 1956 Suez Crisis. The Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control recommended a similar reserve in 1970." DOE Website.

Continuing to save now also seems like a good idea.

The last time the reserves were used was after Hurricane Katrina, when US oil production fell sharply due to the storm.

What is it about us -- and I say this, not entirely sure who "us" is -- what is it about us that makes us feel so immune -- makes us so set in the idea that instant gratification outweighs the future? Getting elected or getting in the way of an election or trying to hold up the landslide of the future with two hands?

If anything seems clear now, it seems clear that things are going to get worse.

On the other hand, it's always important to follow the money -- here's a press release from November on the DOE website:

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded contracts to Shell Trading Company, Sunoco Logistics, and BP North America for exchange of 12.3 million barrels of royalty oil produced from the Gulf Coast for crude oil meeting the requirements of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Deliveries are expected to begin in January at a modest rate of approximately 70,000 barrels per day for a period of six months. The offers are in response to the Department's solicitation issued last month and represented the highest value of specification-grade oil for the Reserve.

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