Tuesday, January 19, 2010

US refineries

I had a couple discussions last week with two men who work in refineries, one in Louisiana and Texas. Apparently, it's becoming increasingly difficult to operate a petroleum refinery in the Gulf states due to environmental pressures, shrinking profit margins and regulatory restrictions.

Refineries are an important link in our nation's energy chain, where crude oil is processed and refined into byproducts such as gasoline, diesel, asphalt base, kerosene, heating oil, and liquefied natural gas.

The US already imports too much crude oil from foreign countries, some with unstable governments, putting us at geopolitical risk. If more domestic refineries are forced offshore, we will become increasingly dependent on foreign sources of energy. Crude oil AND refined products would need to be imported. This will increase our exposure to supply shocks, and it will also inject a hidden, permanent tax on our energy sources.

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