The U.S. federal government will build 1 million barrels of gasoline reserve for the first time in the northeastern part of the country in a bid to counter the impact of bad weather like Superstorm Sandy, said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Friday.
The decision was announced at a conference call held by Moniz, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Edward J. Markey on strengthening U.S. energy infrastructure.
The Energy Department will establish two reserve locations near New York Harbor and in New England. Each location will store 500, 000 barrels of gasoline, enough to provide some short-term relief in the event of significant disruptions.
"The sudden, massive gas supply shortage after Superstorm Sandy resulted in interminable line, panic and delivered a gut shot to the region's economy. That's why we called for regionally- placed reserves to ensure an uninterrupted fuel supply in the event of future storms like Sandy," said Senator Charles E. Schumer from New York.
"Like sandbags and stockpiles of food and medicine, this gasoline reserve is what the Northeast needs to be ready for supercharged storms from climate change," said Senator Edward J. Markey.
The Energy Department will buy gasoline and store them at leased commercial storage terminals along the East Coast to build the reserve, which is expected to cost 200 million U.S. dollars and become operational by late summer this year.
With major product supply and distribution infrastructure located along U.S. coasts, Northeast energy supply and reliability is vulnerable to the impacts of hurricane winds, tidal surges, severe wind, snow and icing conditions.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused heavy damage to two refineries, and more than 40 terminals in New York Harbor were closed due to water damage and loss of power, leaving some New York gas stations without fuel for as long as 30 days.
The new reserve will also complement the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, a one million barrel supply of diesel for the Northeast, according to the Energy Department.