Biden energy chief to meet with oil executives on Thursday
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is slated to meet with oil executives on Thursday, the White House said, as the administration seeks solutions to lowering sky-high gas prices.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed plans for the meeting in a briefing on Tuesday, saying it would include all seven executives that President Biden sent letters to last week urging them to boost the supply of gasoline and diesel.
“Our goal is to make sure that we have a sit-down conversation where we come up with solutions, that we work with the CEOs and figure out what else that we can do to move that capacity forward,” Jean-Pierre said.
Biden is not planning on sitting in on the meeting, she said.
The meeting is expected to include executives representing Exxon Mobil, Shell, Valero, Marathon, Phillips 66, BP and Chevron.
Biden wrote a letter to executives at all seven companies last week accusing them of benefiting from the Russian war in Ukraine by keeping the supply of refined products low and absorbing record profits as prices run high.
The president called on the companies to take steps to boost supply in order to bring down the price of gasoline, which is averaging around $5 per gallon nationally.
Oil companies have countered that they are producing as much as they can.
“Chevron and its 37,000 employees work every day to help provide the world with the energy it demands and to lift up the lives of billions of people who rely on these supplies,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth wrote in a letter to Biden on Tuesday. “Notwithstanding these efforts, your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”
Wirth wrote that the company is seeking more support from the Biden administration, including “clarity and consistency” on federal leases and permits, and called for an “honest dialogue” on balancing energy, economic and environmental priorities. Wirth said he was looking forward to the meeting with Granholm.
In addition to ordering the meeting with oil executives, Biden is also considering recommending a suspension of the federal gas tax as a way to bring down prices. He said Monday he would have a decision by the end of the week.
Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the administration is considering an “array” of options and noted a suspension of the gas tax would require congressional action.
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