THE BLOG
03/30/2007 10:09 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What is Our Strategic Petroleum Reserve For Anyway??

The price of oil has jumped over 10 percent, more than $6 toward $67 barrel since the abduction of the 15 British sailors and gasoline prices are veering over $3.00 a gallon. Oil traders are hanging on every news bulletin from the Arabian Gulf. The oil patch is celebrating the transfer of $125 million a day to its interests both here and overseas (we consume about 21 million barrels of oil daily), in effect a tax on all of us. President Chavez now rolling in even more dough will be going for an extended visit to Cuba and our friends in Saudi Arabia will have even more money to transfer to Wahabbi madrasses and prayer halls propagating their fundamentalism.

The key concern in the oil pits is that should the Iranian-British standoff spin out of control that Iran's oil is impacted -- that the Iranians will cease oil exports and its daily loadings of over 2 million barrels would be lost to the world market.

All this while we are sitting on 721 million barrels of oil bought and paid for by American taxpayers, the equivalent of a years total Iranian exports (see Iran's Khamenei Warns Teheran May Use Oil Weapon. Let Them! It's Time to Call Their Bluff," 6.04.06, and "Iran's Ahmandinejad Lectures Us About Oil," 4.29.06)

An additional 700 million barrels is being held by the International Energy Agency while commercial stocks throughout the world bring total stocks (commercial and government held) to some 4 billion barrels.

Were this administration not so wedded to high oil prices and the oil industry, were it not so indifferent to the high price of energy irrespective of its impact on the economy, the Department of Energy would be directed to issue the following proclamation:

"We consider the recent run up in crude oil prices as unjustified. Commercial oil stocks in the United States are currently over 6 percent higher than their five year average. We understand the concerns occasioned by the political tensions in the Arabian Gulf and we wish to assure the market that if there is any interruption of oil shipments from Iran we stand ready to immediately release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve"

Don't hold your breath waiting for that proclamation to come forth from President Bush's Department of Energy. Were it the "nation's" Department of Energy things might be different.