The Trump administration has tapped an emergency stockpile of crude oil in response to the major refinery outages in the U.S. Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced Thursday that he authorized 500,000 barrels of crude oil to be drawn down from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The reserve is made up of a complex of tanks and deeper underground storage caverns.
The move is aimed at shielding Americans from gasoline prices, which have begun to rise sharply due to a shortage of gasoline caused by refinery shutdowns. Port closures have also left refineries still operating with less access to crude oil shipments.
The oil will be delivered by pipeline to the Phillips 66 (PSX) refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which has not been shut down by Hurricane Harvey.
The Energy Department said it will “continue to provide assistance as deemed necessary,” including more potential drawdowns from the emergency reserve.