Obama talks gas prices
…”Gas prices are killing folks,” Obama said. “I got an email from a friend of mine; it says, just in case you’re not living in the real world, being driven around by Secret Service, it just cost me $85 to fill up my tank.”
Referencing his Pennsylvania ad, which features Obama in at a gas station decrying the price of gas, Obama said Exxon-Mobil had made $11 billion in profits just last month. In Pennsylvania, according to the Web site, PennsylvaniaGasPrices.com, the average price of gas is $3.28 a gallon. One year ago, it was $2.69 per gallon.
“They have been in fat city for a long time,” Obama said of Exxon and other oil and gas companies.
“They are not necessarily putting that money into refinery capacity, which could potentially relieve some of the bottlenecks in our gasoline supply.
And so that is something we have to go after. I think we can go after the windfall profits of some of these companies.”
The man connects REFINING CAPACITY = GAS PRICES right there in that very sentence, almost 4 years ago and danged if, in the middle of all this administration’s current energy tapdancing, lying and fingerpointing exercises, my aged memory didn’t remind me that Obama’s EPA is front and center in shutting down one of THREE (!) Pennsylvania refineries that are closing:
Sen. Toomey Meets With EPA Regional Administrator About PA Refinery Jobs
Friday, Oct 14
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) met Wednesday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin.
The senator spoke to Mr. Garvin about a number of matters of importance to Pennsylvania, including the future of three refineries in Philadelphia, Marcus Hook and Trainer, whose owners have announced within the last month that they plan to sell, and if no buyers are found, close down. Some of the biggest expenses facing the facilities are related to environmental compliance. At the Trainer facility, the EPA may mandate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to require the installment of new cooling towers, which will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The EPA has also proposed new rules on water intake structures that may cost millions more.
If these refineries are forced to close, more than 2,600 people will lose their jobs. Another 5,000 to 6,000 workers – largely employees of contractors and suppliers – indirectly rely on these facilities for their paychecks and would be impacted by their closures. In addition, local townships and school districts would be hurt by the loss of tax revenue.
But by the time Senator Toomey had his meeting with EPA officials last October action had already been taken:
…In addition, ConocoPhillips stopped producing gasoline and other petroleum products at its Trainer facility in September with a plant closure anticipated for the first months of the new year.
So refining capacity was already off-line, thanks to the impending EPA regulations and decision to unload the facility, the consequences of which (from the same article) could be, um, bad. From December:
Feds: Refinery closings may lead to price hikes
If three Delaware Valley refineries close, gasoline prices may soar and the market may suffer spot shortages, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
In November, a congressional contingent including U.S. Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, Robert Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia and Chaka Fattah, D-2, of Philadelphia, and U.S. Sens. Robert Casey, D-Pa., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., asked the U.S. Energy Information Administration to independently assess the situation.
The EIA is the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. It released an eight-page “Reductions in Northeast Refining Activity: Potential Implications for Petroleum Product Markets” today.
In September, Sunoco executives announced plans to sell their Marcus Hook and Philadelphia refineries, with the intention of closing the facilities if a new owner isn’t located. In December, the company issued a 90-day layoff pronouncement for the Marcus Hook employees; Philadelphia is slated to shutd own no later than July.
…The report analysis looked at several aspects of what kind of impact such actions would have on the region and nationally.
It states that the transition for a supply sources shift could be “problematic” for ultra-low sulfur diesel, gasoline and jet fuel supplies.
“Reduced short-term product supply flexibility due to longer delivery times and potential transportation bottlenecks for sources outside the region could also increase price volatility,” it states.
It also said a higher cost would have to occur in order for wholesalers to move the product to the region.
The headline of the article is also sort of misleading, because, when you see “Feds”, you think something tied to the administration. But, no. This isn’t who these guys were ~ this was a federal Congressional delegation of supplicants going to a federal agency for a report that would hopefully swing their way.
Again, I have heard, in every discussion of the refinery issue in the bigger picture of gas prices, someone mentions “closing the refineries near Philadelphia” as yet another catalyst for pricing spikes. If an analyst is really saavy, they’ll throw in an EPA zinger, yet nowhere is it EVER a subject for discussion when the Administration touts ALL the areas they’ve opened for drilling (!) and similar balderdash.
But they must have been watching the same programs I was watching and Pennsylvania IS kind of an important state this year. Lookee here what somebody got for a Valentine’s Day present from the state:
Pennsylvania DEP Renews ConocoPhillips’ Trainer Refinery Discharge Permit
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for ConocoPhillips’ Trainer Refinery in Trainer Borough, Delaware County.
The draft permit was announced in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Dec. 31, 2011. The permit being renewed has been in effect since 1978.
Until the refinery recently ceased operations, it processed crude oil into petroleum-related products, such as gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas.
“The renewal of this permit continues to protect an important environmental asset, the Delaware River Estuary,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Also, even though the facility is currently idle, this permit renewal is a necessary and critical step in putting the refinery in a position to be acquired by a new operator, which we hope will happen.”
Can an EPA sweetner for a buyer be far behind? After all ~ a long, long time ago, I can still remember a President who connected REFINING CAPACITY = GAS PRICES when it was convenient for him. And it makes me smile.
ths update: And gasoline has started the day at $3.10 gal on the whlsl market. Nowhere but UP, my friends.
ths update redux: Ended the day at $3.11, with a NICE assist for Obama from World News Tonight’s piece on how it’s all SPECULATORS (They must have said WALL STREET fifteen times, with disdain positively dripping and oozing from their voices) causing the high gas prices.
WALL STREET, ee-ville WALL STREET is to blame for it ALLLLL. You read it here.