Friday, 03 September 2021 15:18

Feds Will Use Strategic Petroleum Reserve for Louisiana Recovery

Written by William Patrick, The Center Square


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The U.S. Department of Energy announced Sept. 2 it will use the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address fuel shortages in Louisiana because of Hurricane Ida.

The Category 4 hurricane devastated coastal areas and inland parishes across the state’s southeastern region. Gasoline-powered generators remain critically important as widespread power outages persist amid sweltering summer temperatures.


Transportation also is precarious given limited gas station fuel supplies and pumps rendered useless from a lack of electricity. According to the popular app GasBuddy, more than 65% of Baton Rouge and New Orleans gas stations were without fuel as of Sept. 2, while more than 35% of Louisiana was without fuel.


Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is expected to provide much needed relief, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. A DOE statement said Granholm authorized an exchange with ExxonMobile Baton Rouge “to alleviate any logistical issues of moving crude oil within areas affected by Hurricane Ida.”


The exchange program allows oil refiners to borrow SPR crude during declared emergencies and requires full repayment with interest at a later date.


“The exchange involves a release of 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to ExxonMobil,” the statement said.


The announcement followed a Sept. 1 letter from U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-LA, to Grandholm and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan in which Graves warned fuel shortages were at “critical levels.”


“The people of Louisiana are literally in the dark without electricity, or they are relying on scarce fuel supplies to power backup generators,” he wrote, while also citing...

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