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About the SPR

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, was established primarily to reduce the impact of disruptions in supplies of petroleum products and to carry out obligations of the United States under the international energy program. The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in huge underground salt caverns at four sites along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. The sheer size of the SPR (authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels) makes it a significant deterrent to oil import cutoffs and a key tool in foreign policy.

SPR oil is sold competitively when the President finds, pursuant to the conditions set forth in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), that a sale is required. Such conditions have only existed three times, most recently in June 2011 when the President directed a sale of 30 million barrels of crude oil to offset disruptions in supply due to unrest in Libya.  During this severe energy supply interruption, the United States acted in coordination with its partners in the International Energy Agency (IEA).  IEA countries released altogether a total of 60 million barrels of petroleum.  

Additionally, the Secretary of Energy may authorize limited releases in the form of exchanges with entities that are not part of the Federal Government. This authority allows the SPR to negotiate exchanges where the SPR ultimately receives more oil than it released; thereby acquiring additional oil. With the exception of the 2000 Heating Oil Exchange, the SPR has entered into negotiated contracts at the request of private companies in order to address short-term, emergency supply disruptions to a refiner's normal operations on several occasions.

SPR Program Information

SPR Storage Sites
SPR Storage Sites
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SPR Reports
2018 SPR Annual Report
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SPR Origins
SPR Origins Pages
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Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve
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SPR Key Program Events
SPR Key Program Events
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SPR Crude Oil Acquisition and Releases

History of SPR Releases
History of SPR Release
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SPR Crude Oil Sales and Exchanges
Crude Oil Sales and Exchanges
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Statutory Authority for an SPR Drawdown
The Energy Policy and Conversation Act's Statutory Authority for an SPR Drawdown
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SPR Crude Oil Acquisition Procedures
The SPR Crude Oil Acquisition Procedures
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Other SPR Program Information

SPR FAQs
Crude Oil Storage by Site (as of December 31, 2019)
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SPR Quick Facts
This page lists Quick Facts for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
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