Category Archives: Tesoro

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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    CREDO Action generates over 47,000 letters opposing Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail export terminal

    Repost from CREDO Action
    [UPDATE – make that 67,883 letters as of midday, 12/28/5!  – RS]

    Stop the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail export terminal

    Stop the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail export terminal
    Stop the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail export terminal

    This week, Congress give Big Oil a huge holiday gift: lifting the four-decades-old ban on crude oil exports.1  With the ink still drying on the landmark Paris climate agreement, this is a significant setback that could promote U.S. drilling and increase carbon emissions.

    That makes it more important than ever to stop the next step in Big Oil’s plans: building huge terminals to export more crude overseas, like the massive Tesoro-Savage oil train terminal proposed in Vancouver, Washington.

    Tesoro-Savage would be the largest oil-by-rail facility in North America,2 shipping up to 360,000 barrels per day of crude to be burned across the world — making the project nearly half the size of the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Washington officials are now taking public comments on the plan. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has shown strong climate leadership, and it’s vital to let him know that people in Washington, and across the country are standing against this project.

    Stop the Tesoro-Savage oil train terminal. Click here to submit a public comment now.

    Tesoro-Savage’s 360,000 barrels per day of crude would be carried across the country from North Dakota to Washington in dangerous, explosive oil trains, posing a huge risk to public safety every step of the way to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.

    And the damage to the climate affects all of us. Once massive oil infrastructure projects like pipelines and export terminals have been built, they keep running for decades. But when we stop them, we can help keep carbon in the ground.3

    In Paris, the world signaled a historic consensus on moving away from fossil fuels. The last thing Governor Jay Inslee or the United States should do is allow oil companies to hijack that agreement by keeping the world market hooked on the oil that poses an existential threat to all of us.

    Speak out against the Tesoro-Savage oil train terminal before the January 22nd deadline.  Click here to submit a public comment now.

      1. Big Oil Companies Can’t Wait For Repeal of U.S. Export Ban,” Newsweek, 12/18/15
      2. Port of Vancouver Proposal,” Columbia Riverkeeper
      3. A Convenient Lie: Why Fossil Fuel Supply Matters for the Climate,” Oil Change International, 9/3/15

    Send an email.

    Your comment to State of Washington officials:

    Please reject the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail terminal. The project poses serious risks to the people of Washington State, everyone living along an oil train route, and the entire country by allowing oil companies to sell more fossil fuels overseas.  Building the largest oil-by-rail terminal in North America for yesterday’s energy is the wrong path to meet today’s energy needs. This project would jeopardize Washington State’s leadership in moving away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy solutions.

    Click here to send this email.

     

     

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      Health advisory issued after flaring at Tesoro refinery in Martinez

      Repost from KQED News

      Martinez Refinery Flare Prompts Brief Contra Costa Health Advisory

      By Dan Brekke, December 15, 2015 UPDATED 2:10PM
      Smoke plume rises from Tesoro’s refinery in Martinez early Tuesday afternoon. Andrew / News 24-680 via Twitter)

      A flaring incident at the Tesoro oil refinery in Martinez prompted Contra Costa County health officials to issue a health alert in several communities early Tuesday afternoon.

      The Level 2 alert was issued for people in Martinez, Pacheco, North Concord and Clyde who have “respiratory sensitivities.”

      The alert was canceled at about 1:30 p.m., after smoke produced by the flaring dissipated.

      Maria Duazo, with the county Department of Health Services’ hazardous materials program, said the flaring occurred after a boiler in a unit of the refinery malfunctioned at around 12:15 p.m.

      “As a result there was some black smoke that came off,” Duazo said. “It appears that some odors came off, so we have some air monitors downwind from the refinery.”

      The Department of Health Services says the smoke, which was rapidly dispersed by brisk northerly winds, should not pose a hazard to most people in the area.

      Just after 2 p.m., Tesoro issued a statement on the incident:

      At approximately 11:47 PST this morning, Tesoro Martinez experienced a loss of our primary steam generation unit that caused upsets in several process units. These upsets resulted in flaring with visible smoke. A Community Warning System Level 2 was activated per procedure, due to the smoke drifting offsite.

      There were no injuries as a result of this event. We do not expect any adverse health effects. We are working closely with Contra Costa County health personnel and other regulatory agencies.

      At this time, the steam generation unit is back on-line, and the refinery is currently in stable condition at reduced rates. The refinery is no longer flaring.

      Our main priority is to safely return the refinery to normal operations and to minimize the impact to the community and the environment.

      As of 1400, the event has been downgraded to a CWS Level 0. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
      The hazardous materials program is expected to require Tesoro to provide a report on the incident within the next 72 hours.

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