Public Papers

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve


The President tonight authorized Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins, pursuant to the terms of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, to draw down and distribute the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at such a rate as the Secretary may determine.

The authorization to draw down the SPR is in conformance with the emergency response plan agreed to in the International Energy Agency (IEA) on January 11, 1991. The IEA plan provides that, in anticipation of any possible temporary shortfall in oil supplies in the event of hostilities in the Persian Gulf, 2.5 million barrels of oil per day be made available by member countries. The U.S. contribution to meeting the IEA commitment is 1.125 million barrels per day.

The President made a finding that events in the Persian Gulf have resulted in a potential national energy supply shortage constituting a ``severe energy supply interruption,'' as defined in section 3(8) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The President's action was a precautionary measure, taken in concert with our IEA partners, designed to promote stability in world oil markets.