Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Storage Site, Texas

Located on the west side of Freeport is one of two federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites in Texas, the Bryan Mound site. Like the other (Big Hill, near Beaumont) and the other two in Louisiana, Bryan Mound is a subterranean salt dome that has been excavated to hold part of the 700 million barrels of oil held by the SPR, for use in national emergencies. Bryan Mound has 20 underground chambers, most as large as upended supertankers, capable of holding a total of 226 million barrels at the site. The cavities are excavated using water injected in to the ground to melt the salt. The salt water is then pumped out and disposed of. They are roughly 2,000 feet below the surface, and are not generally entered by humans. The storage site is connected to port facilities at Freeport; to a Phillips tank farm 3 miles away, and a 46-inch diameter pipe that connects to the refiner and docks at Texas City. Bryan Mound is manned by a staff of around 100, including around 30 security guards. Very few visitors are allowed on site.