The Clinton administration said
that oil prices have soared to "dangerously high" levels, and crude oil could be sold from the nation's emergency stockpile if already-tight supplies are disrupted by Y2K computer problems at the end of the year. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson sent to the White House contingency plans for selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if necessary.
The reserve, created after the 1970s Arab oil embargo
, holds about 572 million barrels of oil in underground caverns. While the millennium computer bug problem is a major concern, Richardson also made it clear that the administration was closely monitoring current oil prices with
an eye toward possible action if necessary.