Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

August 6, 1986

Yesterday the President reaffirmed strong administration support of a 750 million barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created to maintain adequate strategic and economic protection against oil supply disruptions. It moderates the economic impacts of oil price increases and supply shortages, reduces the pressures for allocation and price controls in the event of a supply disruption, reduces the likelihood of panic buying, and provides more time for diplomacy to work in special situations.

Since 1981 we have increased the reserve over fivefold, and it now contains 503 million barrels. The President committed the administration to continue filling the reserve throughout fiscal year 1987. He gave Secretary of Energy John Herrington the discretion to exceed the current congressionally approved rate, should oil prices make this an economically attractive choice.

Reaffirmation of our goal of a 750 million barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve demonstrates the President's continued leadership and commitment to our allies that holding strategic stocks is the best defense against the effects of rapid price escalation or supply interruptions. The President, in reaching his decision, also called upon other oil-consuming nations to take similar actions, stressing that strategic stockpiles are the best defense against world oil supply disruption.