Washington, D.C. – U.S. Navy Admiral Dennis C. Blair (Ret.), former Director of National Intelligence and Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, testified today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, urging lawmakers to evaluate, preserve and modernize the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a critical component of the nation’s energy security portfolio. To continue to defend American consumers and the U.S. economy from the negative effects of an increasingly volatile and unpredictable global oil market, Congress should ensure the SPR has the necessary infrastructure and technology to bring oil to market quickly in the event of emergency.
“Given the current state of geopolitical affairs around the world,” said Blair, “it would be foolhardy to draw down the immediate protection we have in the face of potential oil supply disruptions and price spikes.”
“While it is unclear what oil will cost next year or even tomorrow, history tells us that oil prices operate in boom-bust cycles, and it is only a matter of time until prices rise again,” Blair added. “We cannot allow recent increases in domestic oil production to lull us into a false sense of security.”
Geopolitical tensions and civil unrest in oil exporters like Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, and Iran can place enormous upward pressure on oil prices, and as long as the United States relies on oil for over one third of its primary energy demand, the country will remain vulnerable to the effects of such price spikes. These effects are amplified in the transportation sector, which depends on oil for 92 percent of the energy powering the nation’s cars, trucks, ships and aircraft.
Admiral Blair’s recommendations to the committee included the funding and completion of deferred maintenance of the SPR, dedicated marine loading capacity for SPR oil, updating release criteria to clearly define when to sell oil from the reserve, and establishing a plan to right-size and upgrade the SPR for the long term.
“In today’s uncertain and dangerous geopolitical environment, the SPR is our most immediate defense against oil supply disruptions and price spikes, and it needs to be preserved and modernized,” Blair concluded, “However, it is only one part of a comprehensive energy security strategy to reduce America’s dependence on oil. We need increased efficiency and fuel diversity in the transportation sector. A strong energy policy is imperative to improving our national security.”
Admiral Dennis Blair serves as Co-Chair of the Commission on Energy and Geopolitics, a group of former high-ranking U.S. military, diplomatic, and national security officials committed to improving U.S. economic and national security by reducing the country’s dependence on oil. The Commission is a project of Securing America’s Future Energy.
About Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE)
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is a nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in fuel efficiency, and in the long-term, breaking oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector through alternatives like natural gas for heavy-duty trucks and plug-in electric vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil.
1111 19th Street, NW #406, Washington, DC 20036