CNBC just reported that the Bush Administration was going to temporarily halt deposits to the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve [SPR]. We find the timing of this announcement curious for two reasons.
First, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been seeing net withdrawals for over six months now, as the reserves peaked in August (or else there is a whole in the bottom of the tank), so today's announcement is nothing new. Second, the current level of reserves is at 684 mln barrels while the total capacity is 727 mln barrels -- that's 94% full. So even if they were still adding reserves, there's not much left to put in anyway.
But while we're on the subject of the SPR, we would note that it has become quite a nest egg over the last few years. With oil trading at $73 per barrel, it is now worth roughly $50 billion.