US taps into reserve oil supply after Hurricane Ida
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is releasing 1.5 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an “exchange” with ExxonMobil Baton Rouge in order to alleviate issues following Hurricane Ida.
A Thursday statement from the Energy Department said that purpose of the exchange was to “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 as they continue their recovery.”
The department said that the exchange was being provided to meet a need at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge refinery.
Since the exchange is not a sale, the company will be expected to return the oil, in addition to premium barrels, to the reserve within a few months.
A large share of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico went out because of the storm.
The exchange comes after President Biden said earlier on Thursday that he would direct Granholm to use “all of the tools at her disposal including using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep gas flowing to the pumps.”
“We’re moving already, quickly, to increase the availability of gas and easing the pressure on gas pries around the country,” he said.
Biden also said he was loosening restrictions on truck drivers bringing gasoline to the region and that the Environmental Protection Agency would approve waivers to expand gasoline supply in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The strategic reserve is an emergency supply of oil, and has the capacity to store up to 714 million barrels.
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