White House hints at release of oil reserves in response to hurricane

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 8/30/2012

The White House has not ruled out a possible release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to deal with supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Isaac.

During a daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday, Aug. 29, that all options were on the table, including a possible release of reserves.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Thursday that 50 of the 76 oil rigs off the Gulf Coast had been evacuated and 509 of the 596 manned production platforms were considered “shut in,” meaning they were not producing and were locked down to avoid spills.

Approximately 95 percent of Gulf oil production was shut in according to the bureau, the same total that was shut in during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Leaders of the G7 countries – which include the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the U.K., have called on oil producers around the world to boost their output.

Carney said the White House was monitoring the situation but “had no announcement” concerning U.S. emergency reserves.

The U.S. released 11 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to Hurricane Katrina.

The last time the White House released oil from the reserve came in 2011 when political uprising in Libya shrunk the region’s supplies. Other countries teamed up to match the 30 million barrels released by the U.S.

The U.S. created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve following the oil embargo of 1973-74. Emergency stocks are stored at locations in Texas and Louisiana.

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