Lens of History (45): Civilian Oil Reserves

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Tautog
Format: Speech Transcript & Exhibit Materials
Object: Auditory transcript of research report from Cusk
Location (if known): Naval Base Avalon
Time (if known): Dated August 25th, 1986

Hello? Hello! Okay. Great. Looks like we’re on-air. 

I, uh, don’t have – sorry, I’m a bit too excited right now. Lemme take a deep breath here. Whew! Okay! So. I am proud to announce that as of today, August 20th, the first of our Strategic Civilian Petroleum Reserve depots are online. “S-C-P-R.” Got a nice ring to it right?

At current speeds, we project that all 340 depots scattered around the continental coastal states will be filled to capacity in approximately two year’s time. Less, if we choose to apply more man, er, fairy-power to this. 

I remember when the Department of Energy used to be called the Federal Energy Administration in the 70s. Back then, against the backdrop of potential instability in the Middle East (mostly a concern of escalating tensions between the Brits and the Ruskies), a national strategic petroleum reserve was finally created. These are the Strategic Petroleum Reserves located in Louisiana, with a planned capacity of at least ninety-days of imports adjusted yearly. As it stands, we’re just slightly below projected capacity, but what’s a couple of millions’ worth of crude when we have on hand 815 million barrels there already, right?

Since this is for archival purposes, I’ll just say that while it is normally Special Task and Evaluation Command policy to use existing governmental structures and assets when possible, this particular instance was one that prompted our own solution. 

At its core, our mission is to defend America and humanity at large from the Abyssal threat. While it is every intent of ours to stop the Abyssal invaders on the seas, the reality is that the instances where Abyssals launch concerted attacks on the U.S. mainland and other continents are to be expected, and must be factored into our strategic planning. Given the size of the United States, the density of civilians living in high-risk coastal areas, and the unique way in which Abyssals bolster their own strategic capacity, evacuation may become necessary. Moving some two-thirds of the US population, as you can imagine, won’t be easy.

Special Task and Evaluation Command has over the years maneuvered itself to address this issue in non-disruptive ways, including expansions to the Interstate and the national rail network. However, given the size, governmental structure, and culture of our country, a significant majority of  civilian evacuation efforts will likely involve personal vehicles. Civilian or consumer grade fuel, then, becomes a massive issue particularly in the area of access. Ignoring war time prioritization and other political ramifications, the US would be hard-pressed to keep its gas stations supplied without any Abyssal attempts of interference. What would happen when the Federal government announces that the Abyssal invasion is under way? Pfft, the chaos would be unmanageable – gas stations’ll run dry within hours if not days, and then what? 

The SPR is largely crude, and I guarantee you most of it’ll be going to other places for the war effort. Even if that’s the case, refining crude takes time and resources. How certain are we that we even have the latter, nevermind the former? That’s assuming the Abyssals won’t hit Elmswood. Big if, and honestly, from what we’ve seen based on our research? It’s wishful thinking. 

Plus, you can’t count on people to behave rationally when they’re scared. I don’t think we can control human nature. Sad to say it, but we’ll have people trying to profit off of others just like all those times across human history. Justice will come in due time, but our job is then to ensure that we survive until then. 

So, in comes our idea. Some sort of civilian fuel reserve like what some states – Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve for example – are doing, but on a massive scale. Apply our newly developed fairy tech and keep the stuff out of sight and out of mind. The primary goal? In cases where governmental capacity or support is limited, provide every person in the US enough fuel to move out of immediate danger. We’ll take care of getting it to places internally, even its distribution if it comes to that. 

The best thing here is that it leverages the rather significant (and rapidly growing) component of our non-naval combat based fairy personnel. This doesn’t eat into our own strategic planning either – and honestly, I think you can only fortify Avalon so many times before diminishing returns hit hard.

Psst. Mike. As an aside, see what happens when you “ask dumb questions”? This is what your “dumb question” about whether or not we can handle something like moving fuel got us a year and a half later. 

Ahem. I mean, here is where I give proper credit to command, and of course the research divisions and everyone within the Special Task and Evaluation Command. I will also say that tinkering with these things have given us a wealth of practical data to be applied to anti-Abyssal efforts of an offensive nature, but that’s out of the scope of today’s discussion, heh. 

I think there’s more to this, too. I won’t imagine that we’re wildly successful, but if we are, then perhaps there may be circumstances where this stuff can be applied to improve the quality of life during wartime. After all, unlike conventional oil depots, our storage method essentially holds the object in a form of perpetuity. If we figure out how to render it amenable to perishables I bet you we can do food, too…

Anyways! That’s it for the introduction. We’ll take a short break and I will describe our discovery in more detail. Take care!