The Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve (NEHHOR), a one million barrel supply of ultra low sulfur distillate (diesel), was created to build a buffer to allow commercial companies to compensate for interruptions in supply during severe winter weather, The first emergency use of NEHHOR was in 2012.

Emergency Loans after Hurricane Sandy

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the northeastern shore of the United States, causing widespread devastation to homes and businesses, as well as to the energy infrastructure, causing massive fuel shortages. The fuel shortages impacted not only individuals but the first responders and the emergency generators deployed to the impacted areas. The Department of Homeland Security sought help on acquiring additional fuel supplies from the Department of Defense. In response, the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy contacted the Department of Energy (DOE) to request emergency supplies from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

President Obama declared on November 2 that Hurricane Sandy had created a severe energy supply interruption and directed the transfer of emergency fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve to the Department of Defense for use in emergency operations and support for those in the region affected by the storm. An agreement between the two federal agencies was put in place the same day.

On November 3, agents of the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy began loading trucks from the Reserve's stocks at the Hess Terminal in Groton, Connecticut. The fuel was distributed to state, local and federal responders in the New York/New Jersey area. DOE announced that additional supplies from the Reserve would be made available, as needed, to ensure continued response and recovery efforts. Two additional requests were received on November 7 after a major snowstorm hit the Northeast and compounded the fuel challenges there. Those requests were promptly approved and loading was accomplished on November 12 and 25, 2012. In total, over 120,000 barrels (more than 5 million gallons) of fuel were provided to support emergency relief efforts. The agreement between DOE and the Department of Defense required replenishment of an equal volume of ultra low sulfur diesel to the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve during December 2012, which was accomplished.

The Hurricane Sandy releases were the first emergency withdrawals from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.