Biden administration taps emergency oil stockpile

The decision comes amid Louisiana gas crisis
Originally Published: 02 SEP 21 15:17 ET

(CNN) — The United States will release 1.5 million barrels of crude oil from its emergency stockpile of oil, the Energy Department announced Thursday.

The decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR, comes as two-thirds of the gas stations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are out of gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

This will “alleviate any logistical issues of moving crude oil within areas affected by Hurricane Ida to ensure the region has access to fuel as quickly as possible,” the Energy Department said in a statement.

The SPR, a complex of deep underground storage caverns holding more than 600 million barrels of crude, is reserved for break-the-glass moments.

The Energy Department said it has agreed to conduct an exchange with ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge facility. In an exchange, an oil refiner borrows SPR crude for a short period of time due to “exigent circumstances” and later replaces it in full, along with a premium, according to the agency’s website.

The department said it is encouraging refiners to prioritize gasoline to the affected region and remains committed to supporting those efforts through options including the SPR.

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