The current zero-sum battle between corn states and the biofuels industry and oil refiners is not new, but it has exploded into a fierce fight over the past year as the EPA cracked open the door to a weakening of the RFS.
The shipping industry accounts for five million barrels per day of demand. Implications of both fuel specification changes coming in 2020 and the emissions target for 2050 could be enormous for refiners and the entire oil industry.
Outages from Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent price volatility provide a reminder that despite the enormous changes on the U.S. supply side over the past decade, the country is still dealing with energy security vulnerabilities.
One solution to reducing dependence on imports would be to build pipeline capacity connecting the Bakken area to refineries on the East Coast.
What gets overlooked sometimes in the discussion on U.S. crude exports is that the country is still importing more than 8 million barrels per day.
The sharp increase in gasoline inventories since the end of last year has raised some concerns, helping deflate the bullish sentiment that has permeated the oil market over the past few months.
Exports of refined products and a rebound in gasoline demand have been crucial elements of refiner success as of late.
Growth in refining capacity, high downstream utilization, and flexibility provided by cheap feedstock thanks to the shale boom have all boosted U.S. energy security and lowered pump prices for consumers.
The refining sector is the one part of the oil & gas industry that is actually making money in the current low price environment. The good times are slowing down, with demand growth weakening and refined product inventories ballooning, but U.S. refiners are still set to have a strong year in 2016
Although the EPA is simply conforming to the reality of the marketplace with its new biofuel blending targets, it is getting blasted by a number of industry groups.