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Energy Department warns refiners it may take ‘extraordinary action’ on fuel exports

US warns refiners against gas and diesel exports

The Biden administration is warning refiners it may take “emergency measures” to deal with fuel exports as gasoline and diesel fuel inventories remain near historic lows in the northeast.

While East Coast gasoline and diesel inventories are well below normal, exports of U.S. refined products are at a record high, the Department of Energy wrote in a letter last week to refiners who included ExxonMobil, Valero Energy and Phillips 66.

“We hope companies will proactively address this need,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm wrote in the letter, which was also sent to BP America, Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and Shell. “If not, the administration will need to consider additional federal requirements or other contingency measures.”

Emergency actions can be avoided if the industry prioritizes “building inventory during this critical window,” Granholm said in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg.

The Biden administration is effectively asking refiners to prioritize US consumers over maximizing their profits by supplying fuel-starved Europe, which is facing an unprecedented energy crisis after the US invasion. Ukraine has triggered US sanctions on Russian oil supplies.

U.S. government officials said the administration was not actively considering export controls and the letter should not be interpreted as a direct threat to limit overseas shipments. An energy ministry official said emergency measures taken included tapping into a little-used emergency diesel fuel reserve, the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve.

US and China Reach Agreement on Audit Firms

Beijing and Washington have reached a preliminary agreement to allow US officials to review the audit documents of Chinese companies trading in the United States, a first step to avoid the delisting of about 200 companies from the New York Stock Exchange. York and Nasdaq.

As part of the deal, China will allow inspectors from the SOEs Accounting Supervisory Board access to working papers and audit staff, according to statements from U.S. and Chinese regulators on Friday. They added that US inspectors plan to be on the ground by mid-September.

The deal marks a breakthrough in resolving a decades-long standoff between the two superpowers over access to audit documents. The long-running accounting dispute has become a major sticking point since a US law passed in 2020 said companies whose working papers cannot be inspected risk being kicked out of US stock exchanges.

China and Hong Kong are the only two jurisdictions in the world that have not allowed PCAOB inspections, with officials there citing national security and privacy concerns. The deal announced Friday represents a rare compromise from Beijing, which has repeatedly pledged to boost market confidence while balancing national security concerns with business needs.

The agreement is only a first step. The PCAOB will have to send large numbers of its inspectors into the field, and audit checks on selected companies could take months before a decision on compliance is made.

Complaints about air transport services in the United States jumped 35% in June from May as airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights, the Department for Transport said on Friday. The DOT said complaints were up nearly 270% from pre-pandemic levels — even though carriers only performed 86% of flights in June compared to June 2019 levels. Last week , Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has urged the 10 largest US airlines to do more to help stranded and delayed passengers, saying the level of disruption travelers have faced this summer is “unacceptable”.

Vegans with a fondness for chocolate covered wafers can finally get their hands on a KitKat. Nestlé, the Swiss food giant, is launching KitKat V, a plant-based version of one of the world’s most popular chocolate bars, on Friday, with a planned rollout in 15 European countries, including the UK. Unlike the classic KitKat, the vegan version uses rice-based formula as a milk substitute. This is one of the biggest launches of a vegan alternative from a major confectionery brand and it took two years to develop.

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