Biden asks Congress for $500 million to modernize underground oil reserves

(UC) — In a document submitted to Congress, the Biden administration has requested $500 million from Congress to modernize the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve, Reuters reported.

When petroleum is taken out and replaced, the hollowed-out, underground salt caverns where the SPR oil is kept may shift and need repair. The facility's steel pumps and equipment are moreover continuously blasted with corrosive, damp, salty air.

The White House on Tuesday submitted the proposal and, if granted, would give the Department of Energy (DOE) cash to upgrade the four SPR sites along the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

In an effort to bring down oil prices, which spiked after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, President Joe Biden announced the largest withdrawal from the reserve ever earlier this year of 180 million barrels. Oil supplies in the SPR are at their lowest point since March 1984 as a result of the historic release of oil.

The proposed funding "would allow the SPR to both maintain operational readiness levels and also alleviate anticipated shortfalls due to supply chain issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and related schedule delays," the White House said in the request.

The funds are required, according to DOE spokesperson Charisma Troiano, to make the necessary infrastructure repairs, keep the SPR ready for upcoming sales, and "address global energy supply chain disruptions" like those brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

When asked why the SPR needs to be upgraded, the White House did not immediately respond.

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