Thursday, September 23, 2004

I feel like I'm clairvoyant. No sooner did I say not to count out Dubya tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve than Scott McClellan is talking about it at today's press gaggle.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Thursday the Energy Department was reviewing requests from refiners to borrow small quantities of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

"(An SPR release) would have an initial impact," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates. "But I wouldn't be surprised to see the market rally after the news is out."

The last time Washington loaned oil from the SPR was in late 2002 when Hurricane Lili disrupted shipments into Gulf Coast distribution hubs.

The White House has said it would not withdraw oil from the 670 million barrels reserve, held in underground salt caverns at four sites in Louisiana and Texas, except for a severe supply disruption.

Last month, Vice President Dick Cheney defined such a disruption as the loss of 6-5 million barrels per day (bpd) in U.S. imports. The United States imports about 11 million bpd of crude and petroleum products.
Now this hardly qualifies as the beginning of the spigots being thrown open, but it's a start.

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