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calendar   Friday - March 23, 2012

He’s Not a Slow President, He’s Not a Fast President

he’s a half fast president

Obama Supports Lower Half of Keystone XL Pipeline

Cuz half a solution is better than none?

When you don’t know whether to shit or go blind, is it best to just close one eye and fart?

President Barack Obama will send a memo to federal agencies on Thursday directing them to prioritize permitting for TransCanada’s southern leg of the Keystone oil pipeline, a senior White House official said on Wednesday.

Facing a barrage of Republican criticism over high gasoline prices during the election year, Obama will visit Cushing, Oklahoma, on Thursday to promote his energy policies, which include support for the southern leg of the pipeline.

The pipeline would drain a glut of crude in Cushing, the storage hub for U.S. crude oil traded on the futures market, easing deliveries to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

“More oil is flowing into Cushing than can flow out, creating a bottleneck that takes away the incentive for additional production, while also preventing oil from reaching refineries along the Gulf coast,” the senior official told reporters in a conference call.

And naturally, once the lower part of the pipeline is built and the glut is drained, then the pipes sit empty and this becomes another huge government boondoggle. Awesome plan Barry. Awesome.

PS - his “help” on this is close to non-existent anyway: no approval from His Oneness is needed, although a “get it done” memo from the boss tells you more than you want to know about bureaucratic heel dragging.

An oil-state Republican says when President Barack Obama stands in Cushing, Okla. on Thursday to announce that he is expediting the permit process for the southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline, he’ll pulling a fast one on Americans:

“The problem is, we don’t need any presidential approval for that (the southern section of pipeline),” said Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.). “It doesn’t cross any international lines,” Sullivan told Fox & Friends on Thursday.

The Oklahoma-to-Texas section of the pipeline requires permits from the states, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sullivan said – “and it’s going to happen in spite of the president,” he added.

“And I think this is nothing more than a con job. Oklahomans don’t appreciate very much this photo opportunity that he’s doing. And I don’t believe the American people are going to believe in this con job, either.”

Maybe the best energy investment the government could make would be to take a couple billion from his crony’s phony green start-ups and build a new, large, generic oil refinery. Perhaps in Cushing OK. Run it with spare experts from all the oil companies, and use it as a training center for new petro-engineer graduates, and supply generic diesel / heating oil / jet fuel (they’re all very similar mixes) all year long. Sell that to the oil companies at cost, perhaps with some 20 year buy-in plan so that in a generation the refinery becomes a shared privatized endeavor. Whatever. But it would take a whole lot of pressure off the other refineries, and bring down the cost of industrial energy (trains, planes, ships, heating factories and homes) significantly. And as part of the big picture, an increased national refining capacity would mitigate seasonal price spikes. Well, that assumes that the other refineries we have actually stay open. That is not always the case:

2/27/12: The U.S. Energy Department on Monday said fuel markets in the Northeast “could be significantly impacted” if Sunoco closes its Philadelphia refinery in June, leading to tight supplies and price spikes is some areas. The report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that supplies of ultra-low sulfur diesel would be most affected by refinery shutdowns and transportation constraints.

“If the Sunoco Philadelphia refinery closes, price impacts are highly uncertain,” said the report. “If areas cannot be adequately supplied in the short term, prices can spike.”
...
Markets have been able to accommodate the closure of the ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer closed in September and Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery shut down in December, the Energy Department said, partly offset by the startup of a Delaware City refinery in October after a two-year hiatus during a change of ownership. But the potential loss of the Sunoco Philadelphia refinery “presents a complex supply challenge, and no single solution has been identified by industry participants that will address all of the logistical hurdles that must be overcome.”

Pittsburgh and western New York state, which now are supplied through pipelines from the Philadelphia refineries, would most likely suffer dearly if supplies of diesel and heating oil were constrained.  Sunoco, which has its headquarters in Philadelphia, announced last year that it would shut down its 335,000-barrel per day refinery in the city if it is unable to find a buyer by June. The plant along the Schuylkill River represents 24 percent of the refining capacity in the Northeast.
...
Sunoco said it has lost nearly $1 billion in three years on refining and is committed to exiting manufacturing and focusing its business on retail marketing and logistics. If the Sunoco Philadelphia refinery shuts down in July, suppliers may need to find 240,000 barrels a day of gasoline and 180,000 barrels of ultra-low sulfur diesel by 2013.
...
ultra-low sulfur diesel, which is increasingly in demand to meet environmental regulations, presents a greater challenge because little is produced overseas. Local marketers would need to transport the fuel from Gulf Coast refineries. But pipeline capacity from the Gulf Coast is limited, as is the supply of U.S.-flagged vessels that would be needed to carry the fuel between U.S. ports.
...
The supply issue would be further complicated because New York state is requiring that heating oil - essentially the same thing as diesel - meet ultra-low sulfur levels in July. The Energy Department said New York’s heating oil requirement will effectively increase ultra-low diesel demand by 70,000 barrels a day. Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont are scheduled to adopt ultra-low sulfur heating oil standards through 2018.

Refineries in the Northeast have supplied about 40 percent of the region’s gasoline, 60 percent of ultra-low sulfur diesel and 45 percent of the heating oil. Imports and deliveries from the Gulf Coast make up the rest.

With U.S. demand for fuel in decline, U.S. refiners say that they are losing money because of an oversupply of refining capacity and rushing to shut down unprofitable facilities.  In addition to the three refineries near Philadelphia that are currently on the market, Sunoco shut down its Eagle Point refinery in 2010. Sunoco is currently converting the Gloucester County plant to a fuel terminal. A huge refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, jointly owned by Hess Corp. and Petroleos de Venezuela, is also closing this month.

And that’s not all. Refineries in the islands and even down South America way are shutting down, idling, or running at partial capacity and taking a loss. Gosh, you’d think all that hopey-changey recovery would have brought demand back up by now. Nope.

Another Caribbean refinery able to run heavy, sour crude oil will cease operation.

Citing “unfavorable refinery economics and the outlook for continued unfavorable refinery economics,” Valero Energy Corp. said it will halt crude runs at month’s end of its 235,000 b/d facility in Aruba.

Valero’s move follows by 2 months the announcement by Hovensa LLC, a joint venture of Hess Corp. and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, of closure of the 350,000 b/d refinery at St. Croix, VI (OGJ Online, Jan. 18, 2012). Hovensa will operate the facility, capacity of which had been reduced from 500,000 b/d, as a terminal.

Now I am totally confused again. Gas prices are high because there is high oil demand, yet oil refineries are closing because there is low gas demand. An oil glut at the tank farm in Oklahoma is slowing down oil refining and thus kicking up the prices, but refining is slowing down anyway because prices are too high and nobody is driving or heating their homes (ie, demand is off). Huh? This reads like some chicken-egg-thing death spiral. Is it even remotely possible that Maxine Waters was right, and that energy should be nationalized? Perish the thought. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/23/2012 at 07:14 AM   
Filed Under: • Obama, The OneOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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