Exclusive: Chevron, Exxon Seek ‘Small Refinery’ Waivers from U.S. Biofuels Law
by Jarrett Renshaw and Chris Prentice (Reuters) Global energy giants Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil have asked U.S. regulators for exemptions to the nation’s biofuels policy that have historically been reserved for small companies in financial distress, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The requests will add fuel to a raging dispute between Big Oil and Big Corn over how the Trump administration should manage the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard – a 2005 law that requires oil refiners to mix biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply, or buy government-awarded credits from other energy firms who do the blending.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already issued an unusually high 25 hardship waivers to small refineries in recent months, according to an agency source, driving blending credit prices down and helping the oil industry reduce compliance costs.
But the agency won’t name the firms receiving the exemptions, citing a concern over disclosing private company information.
Both Chevron (CVX.N) and Exxon (XOM.N), among the world’s most profitable energy companies, have asked EPA for waivers for their smallest facilities – Chevron’s 54,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Utah and the Exxon’s 60,000 bpd refinery in Montana, two sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The exemptions would free the plants from their obligation to hand in blending credits earned or purchased for 2017, which came due this year, the sources said.
Husky Energy – a Canadian oil giant backed by a Hong Kong billionaire – will also be seeking an exemption, this one covering the 2018 requirements for its small Superior, Wisconsin plant, spokesman Mel Duval told Reuters, disclosing the waiver for the first time.
“EPA is hiding behind poor excuses about proprietary business information to shield big oil companies from public scrutiny,” five Republican senators, including Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst from Iowa, wrote in a joint statement Thursday.
“This looks like just another backdoor attempt by (EPA) Administrator (Scott) Pruitt to destroy the Renewable Fuel Standard and circumvent congressional intent.” READ MORE
Midlands Voices: Trump should keep ethanol promise (Omaha World-Herald)
Early Evidence of EPA-Induced Demand Destruction (Renewable Energy Association)
EPA ‘Secret’ Biofuel Waivers Undercut Trump’s Pledge to Farmers (RigZone/Bloomberg)
ETHANOL GUARDED ON FUTURE OF E15 (KRVN/DTN The Progressive Farmer)
Bipartisan Group of Senators Request EPA Cease Issuing RFS ‘Hardship’ Waivers and Disclose Information to Congress (Office of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA))
Farm state senators demand answers from Scott Pruitt on ethanol waivers (Washington Examiner)
SENATORS CALL ON EPA TO STOP ISSUING HARDSHIP WAIVERS (Brownfield Ag News)