Status of Strategic Petroleum Reserve Activities as of March 31, 1983
RCED-83-136, Apr 15, 1983
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO presented its fourth quarterly report on the status of the administration's efforts to fill, develop, and operate the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This report covers the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 1983.
GAO noted that the minimum legally required SPR fill rate may be higher than the 220,000 barrels per day which the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced as its average annual fill rate for FY 1983. The administration's proposed FY 1984 budget recommends decreasing the SPR fill rates. The proposed fill rates would extend the time needed to store 500 million barrels and result in unfilled storage capacity. Alternatively, filling at the minimum legally required rate at current oil prices could require funding above the budget request and could require DOE to obtain interim storage capacity. By the end of FY 1984, DOE may be able to temporarily increase the storage capacity at SPR sites. DOE reported that 18 million barrels were added to the SPR this quarter, bringing the total amount of oil in the SPR to 311.8 million barrels as of March 31, 1983. A storage capacity expansion program resulted in 23.5 million barrels of storage capacity's being added to the SPR during the quarter. An estimated $242 million was paid during the quarter for oil acquisition and transportation, leaving approximately $2.9 billion available to pay for oil deliveries in FY 1983 and future FY's. As of March 31, 1983, the Defense Fuel Supply Center had collected about $1.3 million in overpayments. On March 30, 1983, a DOE technical assessment team reported on its investigation of a leak at one SPR site. However, since the report was issued, DOE has not yet decided on the actions to be taken.