Aerial View of a Texas Oil Refinery and Fuel Storage Tanks

Art Wager

The Biden administration reportedly has sent warnings to top U.S. refiners that it may take “emergency measures” to curb fuel exports, Bloomberg reported on Friday, as stockpiles of gasoline and diesel remain near historically low levels in the Northeast.

“Given the historic level of U.S. refined products exports, I again urge you to focus in the near term on building inventories in the United States, rather than selling down current stocks and further increasing exports,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm wrote in a letter that was sent last week.

“It is our hope that companies will proactively address this need,” the letter said. “If that is not the case, the administration will need to consider additional federal requirements or other emergency measures.”

Emergency actions can be avoided if refiners prioritize “building inventories during this critical window,” Granholm said, essentially asking refiners to prioritize U.S. consumers over maximizing profits by supplying Europe, which may be facing its biggest-ever energy crisis.

The letter reportedly was sent to Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Valero Energy (VLO), Phillips 66 (PSX), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), BP (BP) and Shell (SHEL).

The problem isn’t U.S. exports, but rather “the political and regulatory assault on U.S. production and refining,” according to a Wall Street Journal editorial this week.

“Fuel storage levels would be much higher in the Northeast if not for New York state’s natural gas pipeline blockade, which has made the region more dependent on oil for energy,” WSJ wrote.

The Biden administration’s bullying also is “a slap in the face to European allies trying to diversify energy sources from Russia.”


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