White House mulls refiner request to tap into petroleum reserve

| Friday, September 24, 2004

The Bush administration said Thursday, Sept. 23 it is weighing a request from several U.S. refiners to borrow crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help offset supply disruptions along the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Ivan.

The government Sept. 22 reported the nation's crude supply fell by 9.1 million barrels the previous week because of Ivan-related disruptions to oil production and shipping, bringing inventories to 269.5 million barrels, or 5 percent below last year’s level.

“Certainly Hurricane Ivan had an effect on the supply of oil imports and production in the Gulf of Mexico,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. “It has limited some refiners’ access to crude oil supplies.”

He said that the Department of Energy was reviewing the request.

McClellan confirmed media reports that many U.S. refineries want to borrow from the reserve for short periods. He said it was important “to make sure that our system continues to operate until production and imports resume.”

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