US bill would allow $500 mln emergency oil sale
* Oil must be drained to repair damaged storage cavern
* House bill says SPR oil must be sold by March 2012
* Obama may have chance to sell oil during election year
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - A request by the Obama administration to sell $500 million in crude from the U.S. emergency oil stockpile was included in a spending bill released on Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee.
The Energy Department has to repair one of the many underground caverns that hold the 727 million barrels of oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The oil in the deteriorating cavern must be drained and sold, according to the department.
The draft legislation requires the Energy Department to sell the crude, about 5 million barrels based on current market prices, by March 1 of next year....MORE