The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) was established in the mid-70s as a national priority to reduce America’s vulnerability to an oil embargo, and we played a key role in its development. The SPR has a capacity of more than 700 million barrels, and is located primarily in huge underground salt caverns along the Gulf Coast, within reach of tankers and major pipelines. It is the largest supply of emergency crude oil in the world.
We provided design services as well as supervision of construction and filling on a fast track for the original SPR facilities. The first phase of the project involved development of the first 250 million barrels of storage capacity in both existing and new salt caverns. Our work included design for overall site development including roads, well pads, drilling and well workover programs, rig specifications, and grading and drainage. We also provided designs for the caverns; piping systems for fresh water, brine and crude oil; electrical systems; and associated buildings such as laboratories, control facilities and equipment buildings. All the components were designed to perform as a single storage and emergency delivery system with strategic importance.
We subsequently provided subsurface engineering and related technical services for later phases of the reserve’s development. Caverns and support facilities for the SPR were constructed at four locations in Louisiana and Texas.
Ongoing Technical Support
In the years following, our experts continued to provide technical support and consulting services to the SPR Program Office. Our responsibilities in this role have included program planning and design services to expand the reserve’s capacity and maintain rapid-response capabilities. Maintaining the readiness of the reserve is a fundamental objective of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Our industry-leading expertise in the design and construction of underground storage and related surface facilities, combined with our extensive systems engineering and management experience, were instrumental in the successful development, operation and maintenance of this strategically important program.