DOE - Fossil Energy Techline - Issued on:  September 1, 2005

Public Comment Sought on Proposed Expansion of Strategic Oil Reserve

Washington, DC - The Department of Energy published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register today for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a series of public scoping meetings during October 2005 for the proposed expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). 

The actions are being taken as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which requires the Secretary of Energy to select sites to expand the SPR capacity to one billion barrels, the volume necessary to enable acquisition of the full authorized inventory of the SPR.  The selection process is dictated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended.  DOE will prepare the EIS to evaluate the environmental impacts of the proposed expansion from its current 727 million barrels by utilizing expansion potential at three of its existing oil storage sites and through the development of a new oil storage site.
The SPR is an energy security program to provide the United States with an emergency source of petroleum to reduce impacts of any future oil supply interruption and to carry out the obligations of the United States under the International Energy Program.  The proposed action is to expand existing storage capacity at West Hackberry (up to an additional 15 million barrels), Bayou Choctaw (up to an additional 30 million barrels), and Big Hill (up to an additional 108 million barrels), and by developing one new oil storage site with up to 160 million barrels of storage capacity at either Clovelly or Chacahoula, Louisiana; or Richton, Mississippi; or Stratton Ridge, Texas.   
The proposed expansions of existing SPR facilities would in general utilize existing infrastructure and existing pipelines of the oil storage site.  The development of a new oil storage site would include the construction of offsite infrastructure and pipelines for water supply, brine disposal, and for crude oil receipt and distribution.
The Notice lists the dates and locations of the public scoping meetings and requests public comment on the proposed scope and content of the EIS from all interested parties.  Written comments must be submitted by October 14, 2005, and oral comments are invited at public scoping meetings published in the Notice of Intent.

[Note:  Due to the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, the locations and dates of the public scoping meetings identified in the Federal Register notice are subject to change. All changes will be posted to this web site as they become available.]

- End of Techline -