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SPR Quick Facts 

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a U.S. Government complex of four sites with deep underground storage caverns created in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. 

Current inventoryClick to open inventory update window

Highest inventory -  The SPR was filled to its then 727 million barrel authorized storage capacity on December 27, 2009; the inventory of 726.6 million barrels was the highest ever held in the SPR.

Previous Inventory Milestones

  • 2008.  Prior to Hurricane Gustav coming ashore on September 1, 2008, the SPR had reached 707.21 million barrels, the highest level ever held up until that date.  A series of emergency exchanges conducted after Hurricane Gustav, followed shortly thereafter by Hurricane Ike, reduced the level by 5.4 million barrels.
  • 2005.  Prior to the 2008 hurricane releases, the former record had been reached in late August 2005, just days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  Hurricane Katrina emergency releases of both crude oil sales and exchanges (loans) totaled 20.8 million barrels.
  • 1977.  First oil was delivered to the newly constructed SPR, 412,000 barrels of light sweet crude. 

 Crude Oil Storage by Site  (as of January 31, 2020)

  • Bryan Mound - holds 230.2 MMB in 20 caverns - 66.7 MMB sweet and 164.0 MMB sour.
  • Big Hill - holds 143.3 MMB in 14 caverns - 62.5 MMB sweet and 81.2 MMB sour.
  • West Hackberry - holds 189.7 MMB in 22 caverns - 102.2 MMB sweet and 87.5 MMB sour.
  • Bayou Choctaw - holds 71.8 MMB in 6 caverns - 18.9 MMB sweet and 51.8 MMB sour.

Current authorized storage capacity - 713.5 million barrels

Fill status -  The SPR completed fill on December 27, 2009 with a cargo that arrived and began to unload on Christmas Day.  The cargo was 493,000 barrels of Saharan Blend, a light sweet crude that was delivered to the Bryan Mound site.  A sale and drawdown in 2011 reduced the inventory to 695.9 million barrels. 

Current days of import protection in SPR - At the current level of 695 million barrels, the SPR holds the equivalent of 143 days of import protection (based on 2016 net petroleum imports).  Note: The maximum days of import protection ever held in the SPR is 143 days. 

International Energy Agency requirement - 90 days of import protection (both public and private stocks).  In past years, the United States has met its  commitment with a combination of SPR stocks and industry stocks.  The days of import protection may vary based on actual net U.S. petroleum imports and the inventory level of the SPR. 

Average price paid for oil in the Reserve - $29.70 per barrel

Drawdown Capability

  • Maximum nominal drawdown capability - 4.4 million barrels per day
  • Time for oil to enter U.S. market - 13 days from Presidential decision

Summary List of Historical Releasesclick here

Past Sales

  • 2014 March: Test Sale - 5 million barrels
  • 2011 June: IEA Coordinated Release - 30,640,000 barrels  
  • 2005 September: Hurricane Katrina Sale - 11 million barrels
  • 1996-97 October; January; April:  Total non-emergency sales - 28 million barrels
  • 1990/91 September, January: Desert Shield/Storm Sale - 21 million barrels
    (4 million in August 1990 test sale; 17 million in January 1991 Presidentially-ordered drawdown)
  • 1985 - November: Test Sale - 1.0 million barrels 

Past Exchanges

  • August 2017 - exchanged 5.2 million barrels of oil following Hurricane Harvey, delivered to Gulf Coast refineries as a result of much of the Gulf region's oil refining capabilities being shut down, resulting in fuel shortages.
  • Sept 2012  - exchanged 1 MMB with Marathon Oil following Hurricane Isaac due to disruptions to the commercial oil production, refining and distribution operations in the Gulf Coast.   
  • Sep/Oct 2008 - two test exchanges were conducted following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike totaling 5,389,000 barrels.  Deliveries were made to Marathon, Placid, ConocoPhillips, Citgo and Alon USA. 
  • June 2006 - exchanged 750 thousand barrels of sour crude with ConocoPhillips and Citgo due to the closure for several days of the Calcasieu Ship Channel to maritime traffic. The closure resulted from the release of a mixture of storm water and oil.  Action was taken to avert temporary shutdown of both refineries.   
  • January 2006 - exchanged 767 thousand barrels of sour crude with Total Petrochemicals USA due to closure of the Sabine Neches ship channel to deep-draft vessels after a  barge accident in the channel.  Action was taken to avert temporary shutdown of the refinery.
  • Sep/Oct 2005- exchanged 9.8 million barrels of sweet and sour crude due to disruptions in Gulf of Mexico production and damage to terminals, pipelines and refineries caused by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Sep/Nov 2004 - exchanged 5.4 million barrels of sweet crude due to disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico caused by Hurricane Ivan.
  • Oct 2002 - exchanged 98,000 barrels with Shell Pipeline Co. to secure Capline storage tanks in advance of Hurricane Lili.
  • Sep/Oct 2000 - exchanged 30 million barrels in response to concern over low distillate levels in Northeast. 
  • July/August 2000 - exchanged 2.8 million barrels of crude oil for 1st-year tank storage and stocks for 2 million barrel Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.
  • June 2000 - exchanged 500,000 barrels each with CITGO and Conoco, due to blockage of the ship channel that allowed incoming crude oil shipments to those refineries. Action taken in order to avert temporary shutdown of both refineries. 
  • August 1998 - exchanged 11 million barrels of lower quality Maya crude in SPR with PEMEX for 8.5 million of higher quality crude (more suitable for U.S. refineries)
  • April/May 1996 - exchanged 900,000 barrels of SPR crude with ARCO to resolve company's pipeline blockage problem.   

Investment to date - About $25.7 billion ($5 billion for facilities; $20.7 billion for crude oil).



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