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India's Strategic Petroleum Reserves

  • 08 Aug 2023
  • 4 min read

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas provided valuable insights into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Programme during a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

What are Strategic Petroleum Reserves?

  • About:
    • Strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) are stockpiles of crude oil maintained by countries ensuring a stable supply of crude oil even during times of geopolitical uncertainty or supply disruptions.
    • These underground storage facilities play a crucial role in maintaining a steady flow of energy resources for the nation's growth and development.


  • As per the terms of the International Energy Programme (I.E.P.) agreement, every nation belonging to the International Energy Agency (IEA) is required to maintain emergency reserves of oil amounting to a minimum of 90 days' worth of their net oil imports.
  • In case of a severe oil supply disruption, IEA members may decide to release these stocks to the market as part of a collective action.
  • In 2017, India attained the status of an associate member within the International Energy Agency.
  • Current SPR Infrastructure and Capacity in India:
    • Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd. (ISPRL) was created by the Government of India as a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in 2004.
    • India's existing underground SPR facilities have a combined capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) of crude oil. These storage sites are strategically positioned across two states:
      • Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh - 1.33 MMT capacity
      • Mangaluru, Karnataka - 1.5 MMT capacity
      • Padur, Karnataka - 2.5 MMT capacity
  • Filling Strategy:
    • Leveraging the opportunity presented by low crude oil prices in April/May 2020, India successfully filled its existing SPR facilities to full capacity.
      • This tactical move resulted in substantial notional savings, estimated at around INR 5000 crore.
  • Expansion Plans and Commercial-Cum-Strategic Facilities
    • In July 2021, the Indian Government granted approval for the establishment of two additional commercial-cum-strategic SPR facilities.
      • Chandikhol, Odisha - 4 MMT capacity
      • Padur, Karnataka - 2.5 MMT capacity (expansion)
      • These facilities, totaling a storage capacity of 6.5 MMT, will operate under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
  • Transfer and Timeline:
    • At the conclusion of the 60-year Concession Period, the concessionaire will transfer the SPR, along with associated infrastructure such as Single Mooring Points (SPMs) and onshore/offshore pipelines, back to the Government of India.
  • History of Reserve:
    • In 1990, during the Gulf War in West Asia, India was grappling with a significant energy crisis, with its existing oil reserves deemed sufficient for only a mere three days.
      • Although India successfully averted the crisis at that time, the persistent risk of energy disruptions remains a tangible and ongoing concern.
    • In an effort to tackle this energy insecurity, the administration led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee put forward the idea of establishing strategic petroleum reserves in 1998.
      • In the present day, as India's consumption of energy continues to rise, the rationale for developing such reserves becomes increasingly compelling.
  • Biggest Global Strategic Petroleum Reserves in the World:
    • United States- 714 million barrels
    • China- 475 million barrels
    • Japan- 324 million barrels

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