Thursday, May 15, 2008

I actually agree with Bush?

The SPR was created in the 1970's as a direct result of the 1973 energy crisis. The SPR's role is to keep short term interruptions of oil imports from crippling our economy. The idea being, should OPEC decide to stop shipping oil to us, or to drastically curtail oil shipments to us, we would have some oil stockpiled while we tried to come to terms with our foreign oil suppliers.

The Senate passed a bill this week halting shipments of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to ease record oil and gas prices. President Bush argued that halting shipments to the SPR is a threat to our national security and would have little effect on cutting oil prices. The Energy Information Administration estimates the fill rate adds about $2 to each barrel of oil and 4 cents to 5 cents per gallon to the price of gasoline.

Sadly, since the vote was virtually veto-proof, Bush will probably sign the bill, even though he opposes it.

I support the stock piling of oil as a hedge against political threats and natural disasters. Has Congress already forgotten that we needed to tap into the SPR after the hurricanes of 2005, due to an interruption in the flow of oil? I realize that 1973 was a very long time ago for most people, but the Middle East is still a volatile region and we are even more dependent on foreign imports than we were then.

Morons! So, for a measly 5 cents a gallon at the pump, they are willing to take a huge risk. Let's just hope that no major hurricanes or other disasters take out any of the major oil importing facilities between now and election day folks. Or, let's hope that OPEC doesn't decide to cut us off or severely cut what they send us because they're getting tired of our occupation of Iraq (and Afghanistan, or again want to chide us for our support of Israel).

Cross your fingers you short-sighted boneheads.


Julie said...

Much to my surprise, I agree with him too. On just this one, tiny, narrow area.

It's probably just a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Check my math:
Wikipedia says SPR holds 727M barrels max, currently at 702M, so currently at 90%+ capacity. Wikipedia also says you can only withdraw at 4.4M barrels/day so currently we have ~160 days at maximum draw down and the extra 25M barrels would only last another 6 days. With the filling planned to start up again at the end of the year (not too much more than 200 days away), it doesn't seem to me too big a risk to stop filling over the summer travel season.
I assume we're not going to be filling it if we need to draw it down so if we need it during the summer, we'd stop filling and use it all up (if we were in a crisis) -- 6 days more or less of supply at that point seems pretty small to me.
I'm not a big fan of using more oil at all -- that's why we live where we do; but this short term halt doesn't seem like a bad idea to me. Long term, we're screwed until we can wean ourselves off of oil and find a way to be efficient with solar.
OK, I really don't want you to agree with Bush, I'll admit it.

Kitten Herder said...

While current capacity may be 727M barrels, there are plans on the boards to expand capacity. If the proposed expansion was completed, the 4.4M/barrels/day physical limitation could probably be exceeded as well.

While I appreciate the concrete math, it just doesn't get around the overall philosophical conundrum this creates.

First, it was the "let's lift the gas tax for the summer" (when we already have a bottomless Federal deficit, and it won't make that much difference in the price of gas, and if it did it would just encourage people to drive when they should be changing their thinking).

Now, it's 'we have plenty of reserves' we can afford to be a little risky. When our economy is still shamelessly based on a commodity primarily supported by foreign imports, we should be looking for ways to fix that situation. We should not be playing the Scarlett O'Hara card (ie., "Oh Fiddley Dee, I'll think about that tomorrow.")

It does trouble me that we're touting the fact that we have nearly two months worth of import supplies in the SPR, though we're only physically capable of supply about 1/3 of our foreign supply from the SPR each day. So, um, if OPEC cuts off the pipe, we're out 2/3's of our daily imports and there's NOTHING we can do about it. I guess it's 'fine' if they only ration us down by 1/3 of their normal supply to us, huh?

You're right, I REALLY don't want to agree with Bush. However, I REALLY can't agree with Congress on this. The measly 5 cent a gallon difference is not worth it to me. They should be proceeding with SPR expansion, and they should be addressing the 4.4M/barrels/day physical limitation for withdraw from the SPR. If we lost our imports, or even a significant portion of them, 4.4M/barrels/day is not going to cut it.

Anonymous said...

It does seem to be a Congressional plaster ("Band-aid") to elicit votes rather than an actual solution (or progress in that direction) - short-term relief notwithstanding, postponing the inevitable makes the inevitable that much more difficult to manage.

~ Gemin Blackmoor

changejunkie said...

Once again, Congress wants to look like it's doing something... without really thinking about what they are doing. The SPR is really a vital safety net. See, paranoia (Bush) and common-sense (me) can overlap!!