In the event of a commercial supply disruption, the United States can turn to the emergency stockpiles of petroleum products managed by the Department of Energy's Office of Petroleum Reserves (OPR). The mission of the OPR is to protect the United States from severe petroleum supply interruptions through the acquisition, storage, distribution and management of emergency petroleum stocks and to carry out U.S. obligations under the International Energy Program. The OPR manages three stockpiles: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, and the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve. OPR also manages the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves.
With a design capacity of 713.5 million barrels, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the largest government-owned stockpile of emergency crude oil in the world. Established in the aftermath of the 1973-74 oil embargo, the SPR provides the President with a powerful response option should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the U.S. economy. It is also the critical component for the United States to meet its International Energy Agency obligation to maintain emergency oil stocks.
The Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve is a one million barrel supply of ultra low sulfur distillate (diesel/heating oil) for homes and businesses in the northeastern United States, a region heavily dependent upon the use of heating oil.
The Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve is a one million barrel supply of seasonally adjusted, regionally appropriate supply of gasoline for consumers in the northeastern United States.
The Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserve (NPOSR) has a storied history beginning with its inception in 1912 during the Taft Administration, to the 1998 sale of its supergiant Elk Hills oil field (Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1) to Occidental Petroleum under the Clinton Administration. The infamous Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s during the Harding Administration may perhaps be the nadir in this storied history, but for the remainder of its almost 100-year history, the Reserves stood well managed to serve the Nation during times of both peace and war.
While three of the four original Petroleum Reserves (NPR-1, NPR-2, and NPR-4) and the three Oil Shale Reserves had been sold or transferred to the Department of the Interior, the remaining oil reserve was managed by the Department of Energy. The Teapot Dome field (NPR-3) in Casper, Wyoming, a stripper field, served as the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center. In 2013, the Secretary of Energy reported to Congress the Department's intent to sell all right, title and interest in NPR-3 through a public competitive bid process. The sale was finalized January 30, 2015.