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Trump Proposes Selling Half of US Strategic Oil Reserve
Trump Proposes Selling Half of US Strategic Oil Reserve

Trump Proposes Selling Half of US Strategic Oil Reserve

Trump Proposes Selling Half of US Strategic Oil Reserve

The White House plan to trim the national debt includes selling off half of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile, part of a broad series of changes proposed by President Donald Trump to the federal government’s role in energy markets.
Trump’s first complete budget proposal, released in part on Monday, would raise $500 million in fiscal year 2018 by draining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and as much $16.6 billion in oil sales over the next decade, Bloomberg reported.
The proposal also seeks to boost government revenues by allowing oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, ending the practice of sharing oil royalties with states along the Gulf of Mexico and selling off electricity transmission lines in the West. Like much of the budget, those moves are likely to face opposition in Congress.
Presidential budget proposals typically undergo significant changes in Congress, but provide insight into White House priorities.
The US Strategic Petroleum Reserve currently holds 687.7 million barrels of oil in salt caverns and tanks at designated locations in Texas and Louisiana. That allows for quick distribution when natural disasters or unplanned accidents occur, according to the Energy Department website.
Measures passed in 2015 and 2016 call for the sale of nearly 190 million barrels of oil from the reserve between 2017 and 2025, to raise money for unrelated government programs.
Those sales would cut the reserve by about 27%. Slashing the stockpile by half would require further sales, and would risk breaching the legally required inventory threshold. The reserve must contain a minimum of 450 million barrels.
The budget summary document does not indicate the scope or timing of potential oil reserve sales, or whether a $2 billion program to modernize the stockpile’s infrastructure would be affected.
Trump also projects raising $1.8 billion over the next decade by opening up the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development. But it is anathema to environmentalists, who have successfully blocked drilling plans from advancing on Capitol Hill by stoking concerns about threats to the polar bears, caribou, wolves and other animals that live in the territory.

 

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