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Robert Bryce is a Texas-based freelance journalist and the current managing editor of Energy Tribune.  His most recent book,Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence (2008) has been heralded as[…]

Is it ever in a country’s interest to tap into its oil reserves?

Question: What are strategic petroleum reserves?

Robert Bryce: Sure, the USSPR was created after the 73 oil embargo, the arab oil embargo that occurred after the Arab-Israeli war in October ‘73 but the US will face an embargo from the Arab oil producers and that then it was also a company by significant price increases, so that the move in the US was to create the SPR is essentially as a bank that we would have this currency, crude oil that we could draw out of the SPR with during an emergency and since that time there have only been a couple of instances in which refineries have been allowed to tap in to the SPR and when there were periods of shortages, I think after Hurricane Katrina was one of them and they were allowed to with draw crude because it was considered an emergency and but right now it functions simply as the it is a giganic bank crude that the US government owns but it is not really utilizing the Chinese were taking different approach and there is that they are managing their SPR as more of a commercial enterprise in which their various state owned oil companies were using the SPRs are as kind of way as a hedging tool that they can fuel it is full of with crude it certain times when they I think prices might be lower or they can with draw at their convenience so it is part of the different kind of approach the market that the Chinese are taking then and we are more hands off policies more free market policies in a US.

Question: Is it ever in a country’s interest to tap into its oil reserves?

Robert Bryce: We are talking about strategic petroleum reserves, well this is a I mean this is some thing that economists grab with all the time in it doesn’t make sense for a country to even have an strategic petroleum reserve, libertarians argue that in fact they are little value because the market will react, and react quickly enough with the prices response that makes the an SPR redundant and I think lately there has been a lot of discussion about the SPRs in the US and in china artificially inflating demand and here we are it is march of 2008 and some economists our energy economists are looking at America’s strategic petroleum reserve which is still being adding additional oil in to the SPR now and they are saying we should quick filling it we are adding artificial demands to the markets for likes we crude which is the most valuable all most sought after grade and a time when the market is already a worried and nervous about under supply, so we should quick filling the SPR now and that artificial demand will go away the same can be said to the Chinese they are feeling their SPR now and they are by adding a essentially artificial demand to an already tight market, so there is an idea these SPRs provides some security and but there is also a question about how viable they are because yes they may contain a billion barrels which you can’t get a billion barrels out at the time, you can only withdraw and for the US it is I think through a 4million barrels a day.

Date Recorded: 03/20/2008