Exclusive: U.S. plans to lease space to energy companies to store oil in emergency reserve

Canada

FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S. June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Energy plans to announce as soon as Wednesday it will allow oil companies to lease space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), as it tries to comply with President Trump’s directive to fill the facility to capacity, two industry sources said.

The SPR has the capacity to take another 77 million barrels of oil, a little less than the country uses in four days.

Trump ordered the department this month to take advantage of low oil prices and fill the reserve, in an effort to help domestic drillers suffering from the global oil price drop. The Energy Department put out an initial plan to buy 30 million barrels, but Congress did not fund that purchase.

Reporting by Laila Kearney and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Tom Hogue

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