U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today reiterated her opposition to selling off 101 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to pay for unrelated legislative proposals with a new report highlighting the stockpile’s importance to the United State’s energy security.
Murkowski called the effort to raise $9 billion by selling SPR oil to partially pay for the highway bill a “bad deal” and one that would leave the country vulnerable in an energy crisis.
“Selling off millions of barrels of America’s strategic oil reserve at a time when spare capacity is low and the global threat environment is heightened would be an error of historic proportions,” Murkowski said. “Such a sale would be the largest in the SPR’s history – greater than all previous emergency drawdowns combined – and would undermine our nation’s energy security for a temporary gain. It would be like cashing in our home insurance policy to pay for repaving the driveway."
The report, A Turbulent World: In Defense of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, presents the proposed sale of oil from the reserve in the context of the history of the SPR. Such a sale would be greater than the aggregated sales in response to Operation Desert Storm, Hurricane Katrina, and the Libyan civil war (58.9 million barrels), all previous oil exchanges (68.9 million barrels), the two deficit reduction sales (23 million barrels), or all four test sales and decommissioning-related sales (15 million barrels).
A sale of 101 million barrels today would be the equivalent of 60 percent of all SPR drawdowns since the creation of the reserve in 1975.
“The Strategic Petroleum Reserve 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 shortsighted 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.”