24 May Trump proposes plan to sell half of US oil reserves
US President Donald Trump has devised a plan to sell off half of the nation’s strategic crude oil reserves in order to help balance the budget.
The plan was outlined in the White House’s 2018 budget proposal, which proposes raising nearly US$16.6 billion by 2027 through the gradual sale of millions of barrels from the emergency reserves.
The US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is the world’s largest collection of oil, holding about 688 million barrels of crude across fortified underground reserves in Texas and Louisiana.
However, the plans have been opposed by Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike.
“We should not be selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve now,” said Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, a leading oil producer state.
“We should use the SPR for emergencies, and selling now would disrupt the markets.”
Congress created the SPR in 1975 following the Arab oil embargo, but since then US shale production has surged and with it the need to import reserves has dropped significantly.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US oil imports from OPEC nations have fallen to less than 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2016, down from more than 5.4 million bpd in 2008.