US Senator Wants 30 Million Barrel Oil Products Reserve
The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee wants the federal government to create emergency stockpiles of petroleum products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel, to help offset supply disruptions, a committee spokesman said on Wednesday.
Senator Jeff Bingaman wants to include language for establishing the product reserves, which would total some 30 million barrels, in comprehensive energy legislation that is being debated by his committee.
Such reserves would be helpful to Gulf Coast states if a major hurricane knocked out electricity to regional oil refineries and pipelines that produced and shipped gasoline or diesel fuel.
That was the case last year when Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused many Gulf refineries to go offline and some southern cities experienced gasoline shortages and pump prices spiked.
Bingaman”s proposal leaves it up to Energy Department officials to chose where the stockpiles should be located and what petroleum products should be held at the storage sites.
“They make the decision on where these barrels would be stored and what flavor product will be stored,” said committee spokesman Bill Wicker. “They fill in all the details.”
The department could fill the reserves by having the government go into the marketplace and actually buy the fuel supplies or take crude oil out of the existing Strategic Petroleum Reserve and have refineries process the oil into the relevant products.