“We’re going to fill it right up to the top.”
That’s what President Trump said Friday at the White House as he announced orders for the Department of Energy to buy crude and fill the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move that might help the struggling industry in the oil price war.
While the nation’s oil and gas industry had urged the move, it doesn’t mean the Reserve will be filled overnight. Far from it. Instead, it might take months. But one Energy Department spokesman said purchases could begin in two weeks.
Even with the President’s orders, the purchase of nearly 77 million barrels of oil has not started and won’t be until the Energy Department gets approval of congress to pay for the estimated $2.7 billion bill. Analysts say it could take from six months to another year for the Strategic Reserve to be filled up to the top as the President wants.
And that doesn’t mean there won’t be push back by some in Congress to the oil purchase efforts of the trump administration.
“If, as we believe, the DOE must go to Capital Hill to execute the President’s directive, we continue to anticipate push back from fossil fuel skeptics on Capitol Hill,” said Kevin Book, an analyst with ClearView Energy. “If fossil foes do not agree to a deal to purchase SPR crude, we would not rule out an interim outcome that legislative delays or halts congressionally mandated SPR sales beyond the end of FY 2020.”
There is also the issue of whether the government would buy the light,sweet oil in the U.S. while some of the space in the Strategic Oil Reserve might be outfitted to handle other varieties normally imported by the U.S.