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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Democratic Senator Urges Trump To Sell Oil In Strategic Reserves

Storage tanks

Federal officials should release fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to prevent gas prices from rising in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Democratic Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts told President Donald Trump in a letter on Wednesday.

“An immediate release of gasoline or crude oil, if also warranted, from the SPR would help protect consumers from price spikes at the pump and tame any market speculation that could be unduly affecting markets and harming consumers,” Markey wrote, according to The Hill.

The SPR was previously used in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and Harvey has been quite detrimental to oil production in the Gulf. Approximately 18.5 percent of production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in and 13 refineries, which total to 20.9 percent of American refining capacity, remain closed. Currently, the reserve holds 678.9 million barrels of oil.

The effects of the shutdowns will reverberate well outside of Texas. For example, the massive refineries on the Gulf Coast send gasoline through a major artery to the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The disruption will mean that much of the country could see higher gasoline prices soon. The Gulf Coast also exported 2.7 mb/d of refined products in May, much of which was sent to Latin America and Europe.

In fact, as the world’s largest refined product exporter, disruptions in the U.S. will be felt around the world. “Any hiccup in U.S. refined product exports is highly disruptive to the supply chain given the dependency of nations like Mexico and other Latin American countries on the U.S.,” Michael Tran, director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters. Worse, refined product output in Latin America has fallen recently, with Mexico and Venezuela most vulnerable to supply outages in Texas.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • WALT C on August 31 2017 said:
    I didn't realize we had refined products in the SPR. Given the lack of long term storage stability of Gasoline and Diesel, I an't imagine it being beneficial.

    But I could be wrong.

    Releasing more crude isn't going to solve the problem. We are already swimming in crude world wide.
  • Jack Ma on August 30 2017 said:
    The (DEMS) need to keep the markets flooded with oil as they see the wti - brent spread widening and they know oil prices are about to rise fast. This is why the want to sell the strategic reserves off. They need to keep prices down until Venezuela defaults and to keep trying to collapse the BRICS nations for dedollarizing and refusing the petro-dollar. The USA is now desperate to save the paper dollar. Too sad this broken nation of ours with over 200 trillion of debt both funded and unfunded. IMHO

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