The Department of Energy is preparing to sell 14 million barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) beginning later this month.
The agency announced late Tuesday that it would draw down the stockpile to meet the requirements of two bills passed by Congress, including a healthcare bill and bipartisan budget legislation.
The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law last year, requires the Energy Department to sell a total of 25 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR starting this year. Revenues from the sale will help fund the National Institutes of Health.
A budget deal reached in 2015 requires the federal government to sell about 58 million barrels over eight fiscal years, beginning in 2018.
The SPR, designed to be a backup supply of oil reserved for energy emergencies, contains about 678.9 million barrels of crude oil.
Despite sell-off provisions in the healthcare and budget bills, lawmakers are often hesitant to draw down the reserve for economic and national security reasons.
In his budget, President Trump proposed selling off half the SPR to raise $16.5 billion in revenue by 2027, a plan that Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAnti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (R-Alaska) simply called “crazy” in May.