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Lessons Learned From the 2011 Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release

A CFR Working Paper

Author: , Adjunct Fellow for Energy

Lessons Learned From the 2011 Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release - lessons-learned-from-the-2011-strategic-petroleum-reserve-release

Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press

Release Date September 2012

30 pages


In this Working Paper, Blake Clayton analyzes the 2011 International Energy Agency (IEA)–coordinated release of strategic petroleum reserves to shed light on the political underpinnings and market consequences of tapping these national oil stockpiles. He combines participant interviews with independent analysis to assess lessons for physical and financial markets, U.S. strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) operations, and international diplomacy. Clayton recommends that energy officials in IEA countries bear in mind market-imposed constraints when structuring future releases, tailor their cooperation with influential oil-producing and -consuming countries to evolving geopolitical realities, and address potential operational impediments to the U.S. SPR, informed by the experience of the 2011 release. Heeding these lessons, he argues, will pay dividends when the inevitable need to tap emergency oil stockpiles returns.

More About This Publication

Blake Clayton is fellow for energy and national security. His current research focuses on energy security and policy, global commodities markets, and natural resource economics.