Strategic oil reserve focus of House subcommittee hearing

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin and others on an Energy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee plan a markup Thursday of a bill to modernize the Department of Energy’s security missions.

The subcommittee will consider legislation H.R. 6511,the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Reform Act authored by Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton and Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois.

Their bill calls for preserving and upgrading the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve infrastructure by requiring the Secretary of Energy to carry out a pilot program to lease underutilized SPR capacity that will become available under current, mandated drawdowns.


“The United States is arguably more energy secure today than it’s ever been before,” said subcommittee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. “This resurgence in American oil and gas production has drastically changed the energy landscape – and has begun to shift how we should view our SPR assets. Even with America’s energy supply abundance, the SPR remains important for energy security. By modernizing this asset, this ensures the nation’s SPR will be more capable of responding to oil supply emergencies for decades to come.”


In November 2017, the Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing examining the federal and state response and recovery efforts from the 2017 hurricane season. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Petroleum Reserves Robert Corbin testified at the hearing about the SPR and its operational challenges.

In June 2018, GAO released a report on its examination, recommending that DOE take several steps to modernize the SPR. Read the full report here.

In July 2018, the Subcommittee on Energy held a legislative hearing discussing draft legislation to modernize the nation’s SPR by requiring the Secretary of Energy to carry out a pilot program to lease underutilized SPR facilities.