Oil is the lifeblood of America’s economy. Currently, it supplies more than 40% of our total energy demands and more than 99% of the fuel we use in our cars and trucks. The Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy focuses on two important concerns over oil - an immediate readiness to respond to oil supply disruptions and keeping America’s oil fields producing in the future.
In the event the United States is confronted with a serious disruption in oil supplies, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can provide an emergency supply of crude oil. The oil is stockpiled in underground salt caverns along the Gulf of Mexico coastline. President Bush has ordered the Reserve to be filled to its full 700 million barrel capacity by 2005.
The Department of Energy also maintains an emergency supply of heating oil for consumers in the Northeast who depend on this fuel for much of their heating needs. Two million barrels are stored in commercial terminals and can be released quickly should severe weather or other emergencies create life-threatening fuel shortages.
One way to prevent an oil supply disruption is to ensure our domestic production of oil is maintained. Remaining U.S. oil fields are becoming increasingly costly to produce because much of the easy-to-find oil has already been recovered. Yet, for every barrel of oil that flows from U.S. fields, nearly two barrels remain in the ground. Better technology is needed to find and produce much of this “left-behind” oil, and DOE’s Fossil Energy program, through its National Petroleum Technology Office, is developing new exploration, drilling and production processes that can keep U.S. oil fields producing for well into the future.
For information about oil sources, exploration and production, consumption, prices, and related topics you can also visit the Energy Information Administration.