U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said Richton, Miss., will be the next site for the expansion of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
"The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a national asset intended to protect the U.S. against severe supply disruptions that could harm our economy and threaten our national security," said Secretary Bodman. "Today's designation of Richton, Miss., as the home of the fifth site of our nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve will make America stronger, and make her a more secure and prosperous nation."
The other four SPR sites, two in Louisiana and two in Texas, are located along the Gulf coast. As an inland site, Richton will have less vulnerability to hurricane impacts and will be connected to the Capline pipeline system and to refiners and marine facilities in Pascagoula, Miss. for oil distribution.
Established in 1973-74 after the oil embargo, the SPR provides the President with a response option, should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the economy. The SPR is the largest stockpile of government-owned emergency crude oil in the world.
The SPR has been used in the past as an emergency response tool, including during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 2005, in January 2006 when the Sabine Neches shipping channel was blocked, and in June when the Calcasieu ship channel near Lake Charles, LA, was closed due to release of storm water and oil into the channel.
Adding to the current Reserve will take place in stages over the next two decades, which will coincide with the construction of the new facilities. The DOE's goal is to have the expansion completed by 2027.
For more information about the SPR expansion, click here.