A federally administered stockpile
established in 1975
in response to the oil crisis
of the early 1970s. While it is commonly assumed that the SPR
is meant to be used only during wartime
, this is not correct. Its purpose was reaffirmed in a 1998 policy statement
"This reserve should be used solely for responding to ... severe oil-supply disruptions."
The SPR currently holds 571 million barrels of oil, enough to take the place of about 40 days of US oil imports. The SPR has been tapped only once, when President Bush sold 17.3 million barrels at a cometitive auction during Operation Desert Storm. The President is authorized to make sales from the SPR to private companies in the event of a supply emergency. The oil itself is located in vast salt caverns on the Gulf coast.