August 29, 2005

Democrat urges use of oil stockpile in hurricane

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer of New
York on Monday asked the Bush administration to release oil
from the U.S. emergency stockpile to help ease higher prices
due to Hurricane Katrina.

"Skyrocketing gas prices have tipped consumers upside down
this summer and to protect our economy, the President should
act immediately to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,"
Schumer said in a statement. "If there was ever a time for the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be tapped, it would be now."

The U.S. government loaned or "exchanged" some 5 million
barrels of crude oil from the stockpile last year following
supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Ivan. The stockpile
consists of more than 700 million barrels of crude oil stored
in underground salt caverns in Louisiana and Texas.

An estimated 633,000 barrels of daily crude oil production,
42 percent of the daily average output from the Gulf Coast, was
halted as of Sunday because of Katrina.