Those who follow energy are fond of discussing where, when, and under what circumstances countries holding strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) might release them. This debate has ignored, however, the prospect of the US beginning to liquidate oil from its strategic stocks in the near future. Decreasing domestic consumption and increasing domestic production will allow us to sell roughly 100 million barrels per year until 2020 and still meet our International Energy Agency (IEA) obligation for crude held in reserve. This translates to putting approximately 200,000 barrels per day on the market over this period.
In my article “Major SPR Oil Sales Likely Over the Next Few Years” (Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, September 17, 2012), I have examined the prospects for, and implications of, substantial crude sales from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next few years as a consequence of the United States’ diminishing dependence on imported oil.