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Plan for refilling strategic oil reserves?
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Jul 1, 2011

A group of Republican lawmakers have called on President Obama to release a plan on how the administration intends to refill the U.S. emergency oil stockpile.

They denounced Obama's June 23 decision to provide half of the 60 million barrels released by International Energy Agency countries in response to the disruption of Libyan sweet crude, saying it raises "serious concerns" about the administration's energy policy.

"Current high pump prices are hurting families, businesses and the economy, but politics should not guide a decision to use a national security asset to address the problem," Rep. Pete Olson of Texas wrote in a letter Thursday, signed by 26 other House Republicans.

"The best solution to our nation's energy problem is to adopt federal regulatory and approval processes that promote the safe and efficient development of our vast American resources."

While the administration did not say how it planned to replace any of the 30 million barrels from the released oil, the lawmakers are now requesting the information, they said, particularly in light of the administration's decision to end the royalty-in-kind program last year, a system that allowed producers to pay royalties with oil and gas supplies instead of cash.

The decision to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, they said, "indicates acknowledgement of the problem of over-reliance on Middle East and other foreign sources of oil." They also asked the president about his long-term plan to reduce "this dangerous dependence."

The 30 million barrels of oil proposed for release represents the same amount of oil the country could produce in one month from Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf if it were not blocked by the EPA for exploration, they said, adding that if the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project were approved, it would bring an additional 700,000 barrels of oil a day to the United States from Canada.

"This political slow-rolling is preventing access to vast amounts of resources that would not only increase our North American energy supply, but also immediately create tens of thousands of good paying American jobs," they said.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday said industry interest in the sale of the SPR oil was "very high," with more than 90 offers to purchase the oil. It said it expects all contract awards to be completed by July 11.

In the last SPR auction, after Hurricane Katrina disrupted oil supplies from the Gulf Coast region in 2005, the United States had planned to sell 30 million barrels of crude from the reserve, but only auctioned off 11 million barrels, the Houston Chronicle reports.

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Oil prices ease on 'disappointing' Chinese data
New York (AFP) July 1, 2011
World oil prices fell Friday on a sharp slowdown for manufacturing in China, the world's biggest consumer of energy, and new US steps toward releasing crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Sentiment was also hit by downbeat manufacturing data in Britain and the eurozone, and only slightly positive figures for June from the United States. The benchmark WTI crude for August delivery ... read more

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