RBN Energy: why tracking Strategic Petroleum Reserve stocks matters more now.
The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is the largest government-owned crude oil stockpile in the world with a mission to protect the country during severe supply interruptions. The facility was developed in three phases from 1977 through 1991.
In its current form, the SPR is comprised of four oil-storage sites along the U.S. Gulf Coast; the sites were chosen largely because of their proximity to much of the nation’s refining capacity and access to underground salt deposits that can be mined to create storage space for hydrocarbons.
Two sites, Bryan Mound and Big Hill, are located in Texas, and the West Hackberry and Bayou Choctaw sites are in Louisiana. In total, these sites offer storage capacity of 713.5 million barrels (MMbbl) through 60 operational underground salt caverns. The SPR system is designed for an initial maximum drawdown rate of just over 4.4 MMbbl/d that could be sustained for up to 90 days.
Each of the four storage sites was originally configured with the capability to deliver drawdown barrels to their designated distribution terminals and pipelines to then be sold in a competitive sales process in the event of a supply crisis. Purchasers are then responsible for making their own transportation arrangements via three major pipeline and refinery distribution systems: Seaway, Texoma, and Capline. However, in recent years the ability of the SPR to meet oil demand during a supply crisis has become compromised due to aging surface and subsurface infrastructure and changes in crude oil distribution patterns spawned by the Shale Revolution.The Gong Show: if Harvard School of Business were to develop its version of the "Gong Show," it would be called the "Shark Tank."