Forty years ago, in the wake of the Arab oil embargo that made the United States acutely aware of just how dependent its economy was on imported crude, the government set up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a bid to make sure there were no repeats of the painful shortages the embargo caused.
Now, there are about 700 million barrels in the SPR. The U.S. is producing 9.42 million barrels daily, as of the week ending August 4th, a figure that is set to continue rising as shale producers keep on pumping more. Imports as of last week averaged 7.8 million barrels daily, with the four-week average at 8 million bpd. This means that the SPR holds crude oil equal to 40 days of local production plus imports. Continue reading