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Senators Urge Halt In Filling Oil Reserve

January 21, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 3

In light of record-high crude oil prices, four U.S. senators are urging the Department of Energy to temporarily stop filling the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) maintain that with oil prices reaching $100 per barrel, the government should not be taking oil off the market when additional supplies could ease prices. In a letter to Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, the senators say they believe the continued filling of the emergency crude stockpile will cause increased demand pressure on the oil market, leading to even higher prices at both the wholesale and consumer levels. "This is absolutely the wrong time to put oil into the SPR," Levin says. "The Administration should be working to provide relief to American consumers and businesses rather than helping to boost oil and gasoline prices. The department should immediately suspend the upcoming deposits." The SPR, which is to be used in the event of a major supply disruption, contains nearly 700 million bbl of oil. DOE plans to acquire almost 13 million bbl more for the SPR in the first six months of 2008.


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