Refiners hit back at need for oil exports

The main lobbying group for oil refiners released a study Wednesday hitting back at a top argument in favor of oil exports.

The survey, completed by a consulting firm for American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFMP), found that refineries have more than enough capacity to handle the increasing amount of light oil coming thanks to the domestic oil production boom.

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Oil drillers have long argued that refineries were built to handle imported heavy oil, not the light oil that is increasingly being produced.

“With the results of today’s survey, we know without a doubt that our refiners are ready and able to process the increasing U.S. supply of light sweet crude,” AFPM President Charles Drevna said in a statement.

“The domestic energy renaissance is boosting our economy and benefitting our national security, and our refining industry — the world’s largest and most advanced — which is fully capable of handling this production growth over the next few years.”

But AFPM did not present its survey as a rebuttal to arguments in favor of oil exports. The group has said it does not oppose lifting the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude, but it would prefer that policymakers look at other ways to deal with the production boom first.

Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy, an ad-hoc group of independent refiners, says that oil exports would increase oil prices domestically, rippling throughout energy markets, eventually to consumers.