In the aftermath of hurricane’s Katrina and Rita, and in an effort to help alleviate energy supply disruptions, the President announced the following measures would be taken or continued.
· The Federal Government Is Prepared To Again Tap The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). To alleviate any gasoline supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Rita, the President announced that the Federal government is willing to use supplies from the SPR. This will help mitigate any shortfall in crude oil that could impact American consumers.
· The Impact Of The Hurricanes On Energy Production In The Gulf Is Still Being Assessed. The Federal government is working closely with state and local authorities as well as the private sector to monitor the situation, support repairs, and ensure adequate energy supplies. The President is committed to working with Congress to examine our energy supplies and expedite the capacity of our refiners to expand or build new refineries
· While Hurricane Rita's Full Impact On Energy Supplies Is Not Yet Known, Oil Supplies In The Gulf Have Been Affected. Currently, 100% or 1.56 million barrels of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in and assessments are underway on the 700 platforms and rigs that were in the path of Rita. Before Rita, approximately 880,000 barrels per day were still down due to Katrina. Gulf Coast oil refineries affected by Rita and Katrina represent 31% of national production, and many of those refineries were shut down out of precaution, but are beginning to return to operation. Energy companies are assessing damage to a number of facilities directly in the path of Hurricane Rita that refine 1.7 million barrels per day.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) Agreed To Release 60 Million Barrels Of Oil And Gasoline. IEA member countries have begun making available an average of 2 million barrels of oil and gasoline per day to the markets.
· At The Direction Of The President, The Department Of Energy Has Made Crude Oil Available From The SPR. The United States, as a part of the IEA effort, agreed to loan 13.2 million barrels and offered to sell an additional 30 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help ensure the continuity of energy supplies for drivers, businesses, and the entire American economy. This oil is currently entering the markets.
The Department Of Homeland Security Acted To Remove Obstacles To Fuel Distribution. After Hurricane Katrina, Secretary Chertoff waived the Jones Act, allowing foreign-flagged ships to temporarily transport fuel from one U.S. port to another. Following Hurricane Rita, the President has directed Secretary Chertoff to again waive these restrictions. This increases the flexibility of our energy distribution system, allowing fuel to be delivered more rapidly to areas that need it.