WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The last time that the United States had to sell oil from the SPR was in 2011, when 30 million barrels of crude were sold to offset disruptions in the supply amid Middle East unrest. In total, the reserve has been used three times.
"The Administration reiterates the critical importance of making the investments necessary to modernize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and ensure it continues to support US energy security," the Wednesday statement said, explaining that the sale of oil from the reserve could be used "as a source of funding.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was established in 1975 after oil supplies were cut off to the United States during the 1973-1974 oil embargo proclaimed by the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
The SPR is maintained by the US Department of Energy and is currently the largest emergency supply of crude oil in the world.
It has the capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels of oil. The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in underground salt caverns along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.