Bob Tippee

US refiners and marketers should get used to this kind of thing: "Big Oil is talking out of both sides of their mouth, but the words coming out of both sides say 'higher prices.'"

That's from Ron Lamberty, vice-president, marketing development, of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which calls itself "the grassroots voice of the US ethanol industry."

His reference is to warnings about price increases for reformulated gasoline this year as ethanol supply becomes pinched in a rush to rid fuel of methyl tertiary butyl ether (Editor's Perspective, OGJ Online, Mar. 3, 2005).

Lamberty's group issued a statement Mar. 8 criticizing "attempts by Big Oil to shift the blame over potential gasoline price spikes or supply shortages" and depicting refiners' moves away from MTBE as "their own choice."

This is distortion. Refiners, facing limitless jeopardy from opportunistic lawsuits, are replacing MTBE as quickly as they can with ethanol, supplies of which may come under strain this driving season. The Energy Information Administration has warned of price volatility until ethanol capacity catches up. Blame belongs with Congress for excluding limited liability protection for MTBE from the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Because Big Ethanol got plenty from the energy bill, maybe ACE is just defending its benefactor. The original legislation contained a mandate for 5 billion gal/year of fuel ethanol by 2012. When Big Ethanol asked for 8 billion gal/year, Congress came through with 7.5 billion gal/year.

That's a requirement for a fuel additive already supported by a 51¢/gal federal tax credit and protection against foreign competition.

Most industry groups would bask in the spoils of political victory and stay out of other people's fights. But ACE can't resist the temptation to carp at oil companies.

"Consumers have suffered enough from tight fuel supplies and soaring prices at the pump, while the petroleum industry continues to reap record corporate profits," says Executive Vice-Pres. Brian Jennings in the ACE statement.

Only an industry sustained and inflated by politics could spew this kind of rhetoric. For refiners and petroleum marketers, selling gasoline alongside Big Ethanol will be a test.

(Online Mar. 10, 2006; author's e-mail:

Related Articles

BLM seeks comments on proposed gas line route change in Colorado

08/06/2015 The US Bureau of Land Management is seeking comments on a SourceGas LLC subsidiary’s proposal to upgrade and potentially reroute a natural gas pipe...

Carper bill would raise gasoline, diesel taxes for Highway Trust Fund

08/06/2015 US Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) has introduced legislation that would hike federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to raise revenue for the federa...

TurkmenGaz to lead TAPI pipeline venture

08/06/2015 State-owned TurkmenGaz of Turkmenistan will lead the consortium of national governments planning to build, own, and operate the 1,800-km Turkmenist...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX, Brent oil prices drop on ample crude supply

08/06/2015 The light, sweet crude oil contract for September delivery dropped on the New York market Aug. 5 to remain below $46/bbl while the Brent price sett...

FERC seeks comments on Atlantic Coast Pipeline route alternatives

08/06/2015 The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is seeking comments from landowners who potentially might be affected by newly identified routes for th...

Senate panel probes ‘sue-and-settle’ tactics’ impacts on policymaking

08/05/2015 Environmental litigation settlements, which proponents say help the public make certain federal agencies are diligently implementing congressionall...

Santos makes executive appointments

08/05/2015 Santos Ltd. has made some recent executive appointments. Brett Woods, currently general manager, Western Australia and Northern Territory, has been...

API: Oil, natural gas boost 2015 US trade balance

08/05/2015 The oil and natural gas industry continues to drive US economic gains in 2015, a trend that could accelerate under free trade policies, noted API C...

PwC: Midstream boosts 2Q M&A activity in US oil, gas industry

08/05/2015 The US oil and gas industry experienced an uptick in second-quarter mergers and acquisitions compared with the first quarter, facilitated by height...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected