NPRA favors 'supply-oriented' approach of US House, Senate energy bills

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Apr. 11 -- The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association commended Friday the progress made by both the US House and Senate committees' on their creation of what the NPRA termed as "comprehensive national energy legislation."

"NPRA favors a supply-oriented approach that increases the supply of critical energy products available to American consumers," the association said. The additional supplies would "ensure our nation's continued economic growth and national security," it added.

NPRA noted that the House bill—being the more supply-oriented of the two bills—was more to its liking, however. But NPRA said that both bills "could better focus on the nation's energy supply needs."

It said, "The recent past has provided us with a vivid reminder of the tight supply-demand balance in petroleum product markets, including gasoline, diesel and. . .heating oil. Crude oil and petroleum product inventories remain at very low levels, meaning that refiners will have to work hard this summer to provide needed gasoline supplies while rebuilding inventories.

"Failing unforeseen problems, the refining industry will accomplish this task. But the US Energy Information Administration reminds us often that the US petroleum product supply-demand balance is so tight that there is little or no room for error if unforeseen problems arise.

"And key American industries, such as the petrochemical industry, face grievous competitive consequences if natural gas supplies do not increase. The petrochemical industry depends on natural gas and natural gas liquids as a key feedstock to produce the basic chemical products that are the building blocks for millions of products that are crucial to daily life, America's trade balance and American jobs."

For this reason, NPRA continued, the association "urges both the House and Senate to enhance the supply provisions of their bills in their current form. The House and Senate bill both contain counterproductive ethanol mandates in gasoline that provide little or no additional supply at unacceptable costs to manufacturers and consumers. In addition, the current Senate bill eliminates (methyl tertiary butyl ether) from the nation's fuel supply, removing as much as 10% of gasoline supply in RFG areas, especially on the East Coast.

"NPRA urges both houses to eliminate fuel mandates and bans from the final conference product and to strengthen provisions that would increase natural gas drilling in the US, facilitate construction of an Alaskan natural gas pipeline and other pipeline projects, and improve US access to. . .LNG supplies," the national trading association said.

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