AFPM issued the following statement on the passage of California legislation that will empower the state’s unelected bureaucracy to impose an effective windfall tax and massive regulatory burden on the state’s remaining refineries. "...Add this legislative cocktail to the list of self-inflicted policy wounds for a state already bleeding people."
AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s State of the Union address: "Using the State of the Union to politicize market fundamentals and single out stock “buy back” programs—while overlooking the fact that the Biden administration’s own policies discourage the reinvestment of earnings back into the U.S. liquid fuel supply chain—cheapens the dialog for everyone."
Publicly owned companies, like many U.S. refineries, have a fiduciary responsibility (which is a legal obligation) to act in the best interest of their shareholders, and that extends to how companies spend their earnings. Often, earnings are spent on a combination of the following: direct dividends, stock buy back programs, paying down debt and capital investment projects.
Governor Gavin Newsom continues to blame fuel refiners for California’s highest-in-the-nation fuel prices. He couldn't be more wrong. The problem and solution to much of California’s fuel price challenge can be found in Sacramento policy. Take a look to better understand the role of policy in regional price differences, why it’s inaccurate to equate “margins” or “refinery cracks” with “profits,” and why windfall profit taxes are a known policy failure.
AFPM opposes the Inflation Reduction Act as written. We evaluated the bill against our core principles, specifically whether the legislation would support strong U.S. refining and petrochemical industries and whether it pursued emissions reductions in a market-based and cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the IRA falls short of these goals.
The return of fuel demand to pre-pandemic levels and the slower rebound of crude oil and fuel production has created concerns about whether supplies of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel will be sufficient to meet global demand. U.S. refineries are up and running at near maximum utilization. Other major refining countries, for a variety of reasons, have not kept pace bringing their facilities back into operation or resuming sales of fuel to the market. As a result, wholesale fuel prices have increased and so have refinery “crack spreads."
A Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) release—which basically involves making additional barrels of crude oil available for sale to the world market—is meant to increase global supply. Meeting today’s demand with more supply is a recipe for lower prices. The United States released millions of barrels from our SPR in the past several months, as did many other countries.
We are surprised and disappointed by the President’s letter. Any suggestion that U.S. refiners are not doing our part to bring stability to the market is false. We would encourage the Administration to look inward to better understand the role their policies and hostile rhetoric have played in the current environment.
SPR releases cannot be the center of this Administration’s strategy to confront inflation and high energy prices. At best, SPR releases are a short-term fix, they are not a solution. Stability and certainty is what global crude oil markets crave.