Monday, March 31, 2008

Real Economic Stimulus

As the debate continues concerning how to spur the economy as we likely enter a recession, I have a suggestion. Stop filling the SPR.

What is the SPR you might ask and why should I care. The SPR stands for Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It was created in 1976 in response to the oil crisis of the early 70's. It primarily was put in place to address the threat to our imported oil in the event of war with the Soviet Union. I have learned that we now have nearly 700 million barrels of oil in salt domes in Texas and Louisiana. There is enough there to replace 80% of OPEC imports for over 5 months. The largest draw down on the reserve was 17 million barrels in 1991 during Desert Storm.

Currently DoE is still buying oil with 9 million barrels purchased in the last 6 months on the open market and added to the SPR. They bought 682,000 barrels in a recent week with prices over $100 per barrel.

One very useful and dramatic assistance to our economy would be to stop buying oil off the open market and allow that to be added to domestic supply thus taking pressure off prices. While the argument can certainly be made to actually be a net seller of SPR oil at least we can agree that enough is enough. Stop filing it!!

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