The oil industry pressed for an easing of tensions and a rollback of White House accusations during a Thursday meeting with the Department of Energy, as high gas prices continue to irritate politicians and consumers.
“Our guys have raised concerns about the government’s current tone. We asked them to change their tone,” American Petroleum Institute CEO Mike Sommers told CNN after the in-person meeting at Department of Energy headquarters between oil CEOs and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Sommers, who was not at the meeting but was briefed by the oil CEOs who were there, said the industry had made a number of policy recommendations to the Biden administration to address high gasoline prices.
The oil industry also urged President Joe Biden to personally engage and meet with oil CEOs to address the high prices.
“We would appreciate the opportunity to sit down with the president himself,” said Sommers, who, along with the CEOs of the big oil companies, met with the former president Donald Trump in early 2020 when oil prices were falling. “This is something that almost every president has done. This not”.
No concrete action or commitment was announced after Thursday’s meeting.
In a statement, the Department of Energy described the meeting as “productive” and expressed hope that it will form part of an “ongoing dialogue for more effective collaboration.”
Secretary Granholm urged the industry to “bring online sourcing” to lower prices and reiterated that Biden is prepared to “act quickly and decisively,” the Department of Energy said in a readout after the meeting, which included ExxonMobil executives. , Chevron, BP, Shell, Valero, Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum.
Sommers told CNN that the Biden administration appeared open to some of the industry’s proposals, including waiving the Jones Act to accelerate the delivery of gasoline and diesel from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.
The Jones Act is a federal law designed to protect US shipbuilders by limiting the transport of foreign ships. It has been dropped in the past during supply crises.
In a statement Thursday night, Ku’uhaku Park, president of the American Maritime Partnership, said: “The Jones Act is not a cost driver for rising gasoline prices, averaging less than one cent per gallon of the total cost of gasoline.
Sommers said Thursday’s meeting was “a really constructive dialogue.”
The Energy Department said Granholm reminded oil CEOs that “their consumers, workers and communities are feeling the pain at the pump because of Putin’s price hike.”
“At a time when Putin is using energy as a weapon,” the Energy Department said, “oil companies must provide solutions to ensure a safe and affordable supply.”
In addition to the Jones Act exemptions, Sommers said oil CEOs have discussed other proposals with the Department of Energy, including allowing winter gasoline to be sold during the summer months and waiving ethanol blending requirements during the ongoing period of restricted offer.
The meeting comes days after Chevron CEO Mike Wirth accused Biden of trying to defame oil and gas producers. Biden responded by saying, “He’s mildly sensitive,” adding, “I didn’t know they would hurt his feelings so quickly.”
Earlier this month, a White House official criticized “outrageous” oil profits and left the door open for a windfall tax on the industry. Biden himself drew attention to the biggest company in the industry, saying, “Exxon made more money than God last year.”
Sommers replied to CNN on Thursday, saying, “Nobody is going to invest in an industry that the government says will end in 2030.”
While the industry has a “great relationship” with the Department of Energy and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Sommers suggested that is not the case with the White House itself.
“There seems to be a separation between what we hear from the department and what we hear from the podium at the White House,” he said.
Source: CNN Brasil