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US proposes selling 15mn barrels of oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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Washington, Feb 11 (IANS) US President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed selling 15 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), according to the White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, which runs from October through September 2021.

On Monday, the budget proposal, which requires approval from Congress, called for the Department of Energy to sell 15 million barrels of SPR crude oil to fund other department priorities, including the environmental remediation of an oil field in Elk Hills, California, reports Xinhua news agency.

The SPR, the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil, was established by the US federal government in the 1970s primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products.

It has been tapped only three times over 40 years, most recently in 2011 when the US withdrew 30 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR to offset supply disruptions in Libya.

As of January 31, the SPR held 635 million barrels of crude oil, including 384.7 million barrels of sour crude and 250.3 million barrels of sweet crude.

Consistent with past budget requests, the Trump administration also proposed to disestablish the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) and sell 1 million barrels of refined product currently held in the reserve.

“The NGSR is very costly to maintain, has not been used for its intended purpose, and is not a practical solution for a severe supply interruption, as, for example, the reserve would only be able to meet one day’s worth of gasoline demand in the Northeast States,” the budget proposal said.

In addition, the Trump administration called for the Department of Energy to sell federally-owned and operated electricity assets, which would save an estimated $4.1 billion over 10 years.

“Selling these assets would encourage a more efficient allocation of economic resources and mitigate unnecessary risks to taxpayers,” said the budget proposal, which requested $35.4 billion for the Department of Energy, an 8.1-per cent decrease from the 2020 enacted level of $38.5 billion.



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