April 12, 2019
In a claim that could have profound implications for the longtime claim that the US can always sell oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve, several companies including Texas’ ExxonMobil are saying oil they’ve purchased from the reserve contained “extremely high levels” of hydrogen sulfide.
Exxon is only the latest company to raise concerns that the stockpile might be tainted with poisonous gas, following similar claims from Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Macquarie Group Ltd and PetroChina Co., Bloomberg reported Friday based on emails it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
In some cases, the gas level was 250 times higher than government safety standards allow.
The claims “suggest that the reserve may not offer refiners as much insurance against diminishing volumes of higher sulfur, or sour, crude as previously thought.”
The US Dept. of Energy told Bloomberg that it “takes safety, security and environmental impacts involving SPR activities very seriously.”
Spokeswoman Jess Szymanski said. “Last fall, an SPR cargo received by Exxon Mobil was found to contain higher-than-expected levels of hydrogen sulfide.
“Since then, the Department has worked with Exxon to resolve this concern, and find alternate options for the cargo’s delivery.”