(Reuters) - As Hurricane Harvey closes in on U.S. Gulf Coast energy infrastructure, backup resources are available should oil and fuel production be halted and threaten shortages.
The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), maintained underground in Louisiana and Texas by the Department of Energy, holds 678.9 million barrels of crude, which is enough to meet total U.S. needs for 33 days.
The United States also has a gasoline reserve, created after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve holds about 1 million barrels, stored in New York Harbor, Boston and Maine.
The International Energy Agency’s 29 member countries also store petroleum, which can be made available in case of a supply disruption. The Paris-based organization advises Western governments on energy policy.
The IEA members’ reserves include both crude and refined products, which can be deployed in response to an international disruption.
The Gulf Coast is a major exporter of refined products to Latin America and other regions, and any serious hurricane damage to the region could have an impact on global supply.
Releases from reserves can help avoid or moderate any price spikes by bolstering supply that would otherwise be interrupted.
The U.S. president can call for an emergency drawdown from the SPR if the country is confronted with an economically-threatening supply disruption. That was the case after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which shuttered major U.S. oil producers and refiners.
The SPR can also release oil in an exchange agreement, in which it loans crude to a company, which later replaces the crude and supplies the reserve with premium barrels as a form of interest.
The table below lists key releases from stockpiles.
Agency Release Event Details
IEA Sept. Hurricane IEA made 2 million bpd of
2005 Katrina oil available for 30 days
SPR Aug. Hurricane SPR Loaned 1 million
2012 Isaac barrels of crude to
Marathon Petroleum Corp.
SPR Sept. Hurricane SPR delivered 5,389,000
2008 Gustav & barrels of crude to five
Ike companies whose normal
supplies had been
interrupted to the point
that the companies could
continue to operate,
refine the crude oil into
products, and deliver
those products to U.S.
SPR Jun-06 Calcasieu SPR loaned 750,000
Ship barrels of crude to
Channel refiners unable to
Closure receive deliveries while
the shipchannel was
SPR Sept. Hurricane SPR loaned 9.8 million
2005 Katrina barrels to U.S. refiners
Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Tom Brown