Strategic Petroleum Reserve

This term refers to the spare fuel that the U.S keeps for speculative purposes. Energy is a major component of any developing economy and the U.S government is quite aware of the importance of the energy source in its economic activity. As a result the government has put up a policy of ensuring that at any given time, the country has large petroleum reserves in store to guard the country against any effects that may result form a sudden fuel shortage in the world market. The shortage could be occasioned by a sudden out break of war in the major fuel exporting regions such as the Middle East and parts of Africa.

Other situations that may leave the country suffering from fuel shortage are natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and earth quakes that may affect the production of the commodity or hinder the transportation of the same. Such eventualities would lead to sudden price hikes of the commodity. This decision to introduce strategic petroleum reserves was reached after the country experienced a shortage in petroleum following the 1973-1974 oil embargoes when there was a cut off in supply that devastated the economy. The reserves were set up in 1975.

Where are the reserves located?

The U.S government had to come up with good storage facility for the strategic reserves. This is because petroleum is a highly flammable substance and if not properly stored could lead to serious Accidents. As is the situation almost all over the world, petroleum is always stored in underground tanks to keep it safe from possible fire out brakes as it could end up causing devastating losses if the tanks could be subjected to any form of action that could result into its explosion.

The storage facilities for the U.S government's petroleum reserves are located in four different points on the Gulf of Mexico. To make the process simple, each of the facilities was strategically constructed next to an oil refining facility. The storage facilities are securely implanted underground in man made caverns dug out in the salt domes. To protect the caverns from any disastrous eventualities, they are strategically dug into the ground in depths ranging from 1000m onwards into the ground. Each cavern can hold up to 37 million barrels of petroleum. The safety precautions are necessary since the world has increasingly witnessed cases of terrorism that can cause serious injury to human life and nature and hence the need to put the caverns underground to prevent any possibility of bombings.

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