Energy Policy:

Energy Policy and Conservation Act Reauthorization

T-RCED-94-214: Published: May 25, 1994. Publicly Released: May 25, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the reauthorization of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, focusing on the: (1) priority of options to improve the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR); (2) International Energy Agency's (IEA) evolving mission; and (3) options for enhancing revenues from the Naval Petroleum Reserve (NPR). GAO noted that: (1) resolving readiness problems at SPR, such as heat and gas build-up and aging facilities, is of high priority, since it would improve SPR responses to oil disruptions; (2) the Department of Energy (DOE) plans to install heat exchangers by April 1995, finish degasing procedures by November 1997, and replace aging equipment; (3) the benefits of increasing SPR capability far outweigh their costs; (4) continuing to fill SPR to its current capacity or expanding its capacity is of low priority due to budget constraints; (5) increasing the daily SPR draw-down capability would increase SPR flexibility to respond to oil crises; (6) the IEA mission is evolving from focusing on member countries' responses to oil disruptions to emphasizing the impact of energy policies and production on global economic development and the environment and enhancing relations with nonmember countries, but IEA could duplicate other international organizations' efforts; (7) IEA is less likely to need its emergency energy sharing system with the deregulation of oil prices; and (8) DOE cannot easily enhance NPR revenues by selling oil to Gulf Coast and midcontinent refiners because of low oil quality and high shipping costs, but DOE could enhance NPR revenues by adjusting oil prices to better reflect changing market conditions.

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