Murkowski strongly criticizes proposed sale of SPR crude

A proposal to sell 101 million bbl of crude oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve from fiscal 2018 to 2025 is an incredibly bad idea, US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) has repeatedly said the past few days.

The provision in a 6-year federal highway funding authorization bill before the Senate would raise an estimated $9 billion in revenue, the bill’s sponsors contend. Murkowski finds the idea remarkably short-sighted without a full examination of the crude oil stockpile’s purpose and potential contributions to domestic and global energy security.

“This would put millions of barrels of federal crude on the heavily saturated global market at a time when most domestic producers can’t sell a single barrel there,” she told the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee during a July 28 hearing on the 40-year-old US ban on exports of US-produced crude oil.

A 101-million bbl sale would be the equivalent of 60% of all SPR drawdowns since the creation of the reserve, Murkowski said a day earlier as she released a report, A Turbulent World: In Defense of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the committee’s majority staff prepared.

“The [SPR] is a vital national security asset that must be maintained in case of serious future supply disruptions,” Murkowski said. “While I recognize that a long-term highway bill is a priority, a short-sighted sale that undermines our emergency preparedness could have real and lasting impacts on our security. On the merits and in its timing, this is simply the wrong approach.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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