Some of the United States’ leading energy executives have spoken with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, warning her and the administration that many shuttered oil refineries won’t be restarting soon.
Reuters reported that the energy executives met with Granholm in the White House on Tuesday, Oct. 25. One of the attendees is Joe Gorder, president and chief executive officer of Valero Energy, a Texas-based Fortune 500 energy company. (Related: America is running out of gas: Surging demand leaves US with LESS THAN A MONTH’s supply of diesel.)
“The one interesting thing that came out of it, too, was there was consideration for the ability to restart refining capacity that had been shut down,” said Gorder. “And I think the general sentiment was that wasn’t going to happen.”
Just months earlier, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth put forward the possibility that the U.S. would never build a new refinery again, and would only continue to shut down or convert existing refineries.
“Building a refinery is a multibillion-dollar investment. It may take a decade,” said Wirth at the time. “We haven’t had a refinery built in the United States since the 1970s. My personal view is that there will never be another refinery built in the United States.”
Wirth added that energy companies would have to consider if there are benefits to committing capital for at least 10 years “in a policy environment where governments around the world are saying ‘We don’t want these products to be used in the future.’”
Refineries all over America are shutting down
Nearly a dozen refineries owned by American energy companies have shut down since 2020.
Dallas-based HollyFrontier Corp said in June 2020 that it would convert its refinery in Cheyenne, Wyoming into a plant capable of producing 6,000 barrels per day (bpd) of renewable diesel. Before this plant was closed for conversion, it was able to refine 52,000 bpd.
Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum announced in Aug. 2020 that it was permanently closing two of its refineries, one in Martinez, California and another in Gallup, New Mexico, in response to lower fuel demand caused by economic restrictions. The Gallup refinery was able to refine 27,000 bpd. The one in Martinez could refine 161,000 bpd.
Marathon later announced that it was converting the Martinez refinery to produce over 260 million gallons of renewable diesel per year starting in 2023.
In the same month, Louisiana-based Calcasieu Refining announced it would shut down its plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, citing demand loss. The plant used to be able to refine 135,500 bpd.
In Nov. 2020, Shell announced it would permanently shut down a refinery in St. James, Louisiana, capable of refining 240,000 bpd. This announcement came after it tried for months to sell the plant to no avail.
In May 2021, Limetree Bay Energy shut down its refinery in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, citing financial problems. The plant was able to refine 210,000 bpd and was only operating for a few months before the shutdown was announced. In Dec. 2021, the plant was sold to a Jamaican company to be used for storing oil.
In Nov. 2021, Houston-based energy company Phillips 66 shut down two of its refineries, one in Rodeo, California, and another in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The latter was far too damaged following Hurricane Ida and would not be repaired. The former would be converted into a renewable fuel plant.
Both plants combined used to be able to refine a total of 375,200 bpd.
One of the latest energy companies to announce a refinery shutdown is LyondellBasell, a Dutch oil company with U.S. operations headquartered in Houston.
In April, 2022, the company announced that it would shut down its refinery in Houston by the end of 2023, as it was unable to find a buyer and did not want to pour more resources into the plant to keep it open. The refinery is still refining nearly 264,000 bpd.
Read more about America’s energy crisis at EnergySupply.news.
Watch this clip from InfoWars featuring Harrison Smith discussing how the White House plans to worsen the energy crisis by dumping America’s remaining oil reserves before the midterms.
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