Energy Chief Tells CNBC: Doubling Petroleum Reserve Is 'Insurance'

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told CNBC that President Bush's call to double the nation's petroleum reserve is an "insurance policy for this country."

In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced a plan to double the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to 1.5 billion barrels by 2027 in an effort to protect against disruptions to the oil supply.

"It's a drastic increase but remember, it's 20 years," Bodman said in an interview on "Closing Bell." "What I'm concerned about is having enough protection."

He said the program would increase the nation's reserve to a 90-day supply from 55 days.

Bodman also said he's "cautiously optimistic" that producers will be able to meet new consumption targets for ethanol and other alternative fuels - despite the technological challenges.

Bush also called to raise consumption targets for ethanol and other alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons by 2017. More than five billion gallons were produced in the U.S. in 2006.

While Bodman conceded that a technological "breakthrough" is needed, he said he visited Du Pont in Wilmington earlier and "the researches there were quite optimistic in their capabilities."

"This is really an effort, to set a mark, that this President has down a masterful job of doing, in order to encourage and unleash the inventiveness of America," Boden told CNBC. "The Du Pont people will be working on it, the venture capital people in California and so forth are working on it. So I would say I'm cautiously optimistic that we will see significant progress and that we well may this very significant goal even though we dont have the technology."

He said they have some time since this is a ten year program.

"The goal is we won't have cellulosic ethanol until 2012," he said. "That's five more years. I think we'll see the private sector breaking through before that."