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Oil industry says meeting sends ‘positive signal’

An oil industry meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to lower gas prices and boost domestic oil supplies was constructive, but did not produce a major breakthrough, administration and industry officials said on June 23.

The closed-door meeting came as President Joe Biden called on Congress to suspend federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel as a way to relieve high gas prices that have frustrated drivers and spurred inflation. The Democratic president also called on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief, and he delivered a public critique of the energy industry for prioritizing profits over production.

“It doesn’t reduce all the pain but it will be a big help,” Biden said on June 22, referring to the national average of $5 per gallon for gas. Biden said he was doing his part and now wants Congress, states and industry to do their parts as well.

In a joint statement, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said the meeting with Granholm “should send a positive signal to the market that the U.S. is committed to long-term investment in a strong U.S. refining industry and aligning policies to reflect that
commitment.”

Challenges facing their industry are complex, the groups said, from Russia’s war in Ukraine to “market imbalances” leftover from COVID-19 shutdowns that led to reduced demand and production.
“Our industry will continue to work with policymakers to unlock American energy,fuel economic recovery and strengthen our national security,” they said.

In a separate statement, the Energy Department said Granholm reminded the oil companies and refiners that their customers, workers and communities “are feeling the pain at the pump because of Putin’s price hike,” a reference to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s February invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a ban on Russian oil by the United States and many Western allies.

“At a time when Putin is using energy as a weapon, oil companies must deliver solutions to ensure secure, affordable supply,” the Energy Department said.

The meeting at the Energy Department included executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Marathon and Phillips 66 and other large companies.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the meeting with oil executives “a productive dialogue” and said Granholm “made clear that the administration believes it’s imperative that companies increase supply of gas.”
Granholm also “reiterated that the president is prepared to act quickly and decisively using the tools available to him, as appropriate, on sensible recommendations,” Jean-Pierre said.

Biden has already released 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and rallied allies to release their own reserves.

Shell U.S. President Gretchen Watkins said she told Granholm that her company and others “have diminished refining capacity because we’re busy converting century-old assets to produce biofuel,” such as ethanol and biodiesel. U.S. law requires billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels as a way to produce cleaner gasoline and slow climate change.

While acknowledging that “Americans are feeling a lot of price pain,” Watkins said in an email that she asked Granholm to “look closely at accelerating the permitting process” to increase oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, “while clearing a path for future wind development” off the U.S. East Coast.

Source
hurriyetdailynews

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