Why are Millions of Barrels of Oil Stored Under Louisiana?
When 5% of the world's crude oil production was brought to a halt by the drone strikes in Saudi Arabia this weekend, most of the world completely freaked out. That's not the strange part, some experts claim that oil is set to spike $5-$10 per barrel as a result - that's a good reason to freak out, in my humble opinion. The surprising part is that President Trump started tweeting right away about using America's "strategic reserves" to keep the markets well supplied.
Not only is that possible, apparently we've got way more crude oil packed away than it would take to stabilize things. According to the BBC, we've had the ability to do this many times over for years - and it's literally been hiding under our nose the whole time.
Reportedly, more than 640 million barrels are stored in underground salt caverns beneath Texas and Louisiana. Since the 1970's, all countries that are members of the International Energy Agency are required to keep a 90 day supply on hand - but even though the U.S. has the largest amount of back-up petroleum in the world, we only have enough oil for roughly one third of that time.
At last count, we had exactly 644 million barrels of crude stored underground. Unfortunately, Americans use approximately 20.5 million barrels per day. That means it would be a stretch to make it 31 days if the country was cut off of foreign supplies.
Officials chose 4 sites in Texas and Louisiana to bank up our black gold: Freeport and Winnie in Texas, and outside Lake Charles and Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The salt mines there were chosen because the unique qualities (concerning both chemical makeup and geography) of these locations keep the oil from leaking and causing an ecological disaster.