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The US and its strategic petroleum reserve dilemma

For almost 40 years the US’s strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) has been the front line of defence against global oil-price shocks

Formed in 1973, the 727 million barrel stash is the legacy of the Middle East oil embargo and an era of gasoline rationing and queues. The idea for the SPR, however, originated in the Second World War and came up again following the Suez crisis in 1956. The Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control recommended a similar reserve in 1970, but it wasn’t until the oil crisis of the early 1970s that the government was tipped to act. Today it is the largest source of government-owned petroleum reserves in the world, and a potent tool for the US government to protect vital economic and security interests. The reserve itself is no single entity. The ba

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