Category Archives: Exxon

Exxon, other refineries affected as Louisiana waters rise

Repost from Bloomberg News
[Editor: You can count on the oil industry to prevaricate. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that ExxonMobil released a statement disputing this Bloomberg report. “‘Contrary to some reports, the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Complex is operating. It is our practice not to comment on specific unit operations at our facilities,’ the company said.”  – RS]

Exxon Said to Slow Louisiana Refinery as People Escape Flood

By Barbara J Powell & Brian K Sullivan, August 17, 2016 6:13 AM PDT, Updated 4:14 PM PDT

• Fourth-largest U.S. refinery affected as waters rise
• Louisiana is home to about 18% of U.S. refining capacity

Exxon Mobil Corp. curbed operations at the fourth-largest U.S. refinery as record flooding in Louisiana shut roadways, sent tens of thousands fleeing from their homes and threatened the state’s oil infrastructure.

The Baton Rouge refinery along the Mississippi shut four production units and idled others when the flooding threatened an offsite liquefied petroleum gas storage facility and pumping station, a person familiar with operations said early Wednesday. The refinery can process 502,500 barrels of crude a day into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

At least 11 people have died, 30,000 people rescued and 40,000 homes have been damaged as almost 2 feet (61 centimeters) of rain fell in parts of southern Louisiana, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Flood warnings extended across much of the southern portions of the state with many bayous and rivers still at dangerous levels. Louisiana is home to about 18 percent of U.S. refining capacity, according to Energy Information Administration data.

Pipelines, Terminals

Most in danger from direct disruption from flooding is the support infrastructure consisting of pipelines, terminals, salt caverns and above-ground pumping stations, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

“Those that supply support services to refineries could be in danger of shutting down, and that could impact refineries’ operations,” Lipow said.

Todd Spitler, an Exxon spokesman, said the refinery is operating. The company doesn’t comment on specific unit operations and has continued to meet contractual commitments, he said

Through Tuesday, Baton Rouge had received 22.11 inches of rain since the start of August, more than 19 inches above normal, according to the National Weather Service. New Orleans got 7.46 inches, or 4.35 above normal; Lake Charles had 11.22 inches, or 8.69 above normal; and Lafayette logged 23.19, or 20.81 higher than the 30-year average.

Governor John Bel Edwards declared an emergency on Friday. Residents in 20 parishes are eligible for federal assistance and in two days 39,000 people have registered, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said.

Motiva Convent

Motiva Enterprises LLC said in an online message to employees Wednesday afternoon that it will staff its Convent refinery, about 38 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, with only essential personnel through at least Sunday. The company had previously said the restriction would last until Wednesday.

Angela Goodwin, a Motiva spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. She said Tuesday that operations at Motiva’s Convent and its Norco refinery, about 38 miles to the south, are stable.

Gulf Coast fuel prices climbed early Wednesday on the prospect of refinery outages. Ultra-low sulfur diesel strengthened 1 cent to 2.75 cents below New York Mercantile Exchange futures, the narrowest discount since November 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Conventional gasoline gained 1.88 cents to trade near parity with futures for the first time in four days.

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California attorney general subpoenas oil refiners

Repost from SFGate
[Editor:  See also coverage in Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.  – RS]

California attorney general subpoenas refiners on gas prices

Associated Press, Updated 2:57 pm, Friday, July 1, 2016

The California attorney general has issued subpoenas to several oil refiners to learn how they set gasoline prices, which are consistently higher in California than in most other states.

Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. confirmed on Thursday that they have received subpoenas in recent weeks.

The attorney general is making a sweeping request for information about gasoline supplies, pricing, and maintenance shutdowns that can temporarily create shortages and increase prices, according to people familiar with the investigation. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the subpoenas.

The requests came from Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate. Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for Harris, declined to comment on whether her office was investigating.

Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall said the company received a subpoena from the attorney general’s office and would cooperate with the investigation.

Valero received a subpoena “and we will respond accordingly,” said spokeswoman Lillian Riojas.

Spokesmen for Exxon and Tesoro also confirmed the requests for information. None of the companies would discuss the matter further.

California perennially has among the nation’s highest prices for gasoline. This week, the average for a gallon of regular was $2.90 in the state compared with the national average of $2.29, according to the AAA auto club.

Some consumer advocates have charged that refiners drive prices higher by tactics such as frequent or overly long plant shutdowns.
Refineries are routinely taken offline for maintenance, and there have been longer-lasting outages after disasters such as the explosion in February 2015 at an Exxon refinery in Torrance, near Los Angeles.

Gordon Schremp, senior fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission, said 2015 saw an “extraordinary price spike in magnitude and duration in California,” which a commission advisory committee has been investigating.

“We are aware that they were doing this,” Schremp said of the attorney general’s investigation, “because off and on they’ve talked to us about what was going on with the 2015 market, important factors that can cause spikes in the markets.”

Industry officials blame high prices on California’s stricter clean-air requirements, which they say add costs and make it more difficult to import gasoline from other states when there is a price spike.
Rebecca Adler, a spokeswoman for the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, called the allegations in the subpoenas baseless.

“We are confident that nothing will come of this,” she said.

The group Consumer Watchdog has repeatedly called on Harris to investigate oil companies over California gas prices and welcomed news of the investigation.

“It’s great that we have a law enforcement official asking questions about both supplying the market and equitable pricing within the market,” said the group’s president, Jamie Court.

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AP: Exxon, Chevron Shareholders Reject Climate Resolutions

Repost from ABC News

Exxon, Chevron Shareholders Reject Climate Resolutions

By DAVID KOENIG, AP BUSINESS WRITER, DALLAS — May 25, 2016, 4:17 PM ET

Shareholders at Exxon Mobil and Chevron rejected resolutions backed by environmentalists that would have pushed the companies to take stronger stands in favor of limiting climate change.

Environmentalists took solace, however, that some of their ideas gained considerable support.

At Chevron Corp., a resolution asking for an annual report each year on how climate-change policies will affect the company received 41 percent of the vote. A similar resolution at Exxon got 38 percent.

Also, Exxon Mobil Corp. shareholders voted to ask directors to adopt a proxy-access rule, which would make it easier for shareholders to propose their own board candidates. Backers including the New York City comptroller said it could result in the election of independent directors who could help the company address risks like climate change.

The meetings Wednesday — Exxon’s in Dallas, Chevron’s in San Ramon, California — came as the companies are trying to dig out from the collapse in crude prices that began in mid-2014. Exxon earned $16.15 billion last year, its smallest profit since 2002. Chevron’s annual profit plunged 76 percent to $4.59 billion and included the company’s first money-losing quarter since 2002.

Crude prices have rebounded since February, boosting the shares of the top two U.S. oil companies, but they remain about half of what they were at their last peak.

Exxon is also dealing with investigations by officials in several states into what the company knew and allegedly didn’t disclose about oil’s role in climate change.

The company’s shareholders rejected resolutions to put a climate expert on the board and support the goal of a UN meeting in Paris last year to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Patricia Daley, a Dominican sister from New Jersey and sponsor of one of the resolutions, said Exxon lacked “moral leadership.”

“Our company has chosen to disregard the consensus of the scientific community, the will of the 195 nations that signed the Paris agreement,” religious leaders and even other oil companies, Daley said.

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson said his company has long recognized that climate change is a serious risk and might require action. But, he said, any policies should be implemented evenly across the world, allow market prices to pick solutions, and be flexible enough to respond to economic ups and downs and “breakthroughs in climate science.”

Exxon forecasts that oil and gas will make up 60 percent of the world’s energy supply in 2040 — about the same share it holds today. Its CEO said the company was balancing the need to produce more energy for growing world demand with environmental considerations.

Tillerson said there is no alternative source that can replace the ubiquity of fossil fuels. He expressed confidence that technology will provide the key to limiting carbon emissions.

“We’ve got to have some technological breakthroughs,” he said, “but until we achieve those, to just say turn the taps off is not acceptable to humanity,” he said.

The shareholders responded with robust applause.

Across the street from the meeting hall, about 60 protesters gathered and urged large shareholders such as pension funds to divest their shares. Many held signs with slogans such as “Exxon Liar Liar Earth on Fire.” The mood was sedate, however, perhaps owing to the warm, muggy weather.

Exxon shares rose 59 cents to $90.26, and Chevron shares gained $1.60 to $101.79.

———

This story has been corrected to note that the climate-change resolution won 38 percent support, instead of a maximum of 25 percent support.

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