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U.S. EPA to scrutinize the so-called small refinery exemption program

May 11/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is handing over to the Government Accountability Office information on oil refiners that petitioned for exemptions to biofuel blending mandates, in an effort to help the government watchdog investigate the exemption program, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The move shows the Biden administration's willingness to help scrutinize the so-called small refinery exemption program, which had expanded dramatically during former President Donald Trump's term. The disclosed confidential information will include all documents, information and data related to small refinery exemption petitions received by the EPA from the program since its inception, according to a notice on Wednesday in the Federal Register.

Under U.S. law, oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel pool, or buy credits from those that do. Refiners can apply for exemptions if they can prove the requirements would do them financial harm.

The exemptions have sparked controversy between oil and corn groups. Corn and biofuel groups say that the exemptions hurt demand for their fuel, while oil refiners reject that claim and say the exemptions are necessary to keep small refiners in business.

GAO announced in January 2020 that it would review the EPA's approval of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard, including viability scores given to the applications by the Energy Department, which helps advise EPA on the program.

GAO launched the investigation after a request to do so from Democratic and Republican representatives from corn-growing states such as Illinois, Iowa and other states. The Renewable Fuels Association, a biofuel trade group, cheered the news.

"We applaud the new leadership at EPA for providing the requested information to GAO, and we thank Administrator (Michael) Regan for taking another important step toward restoring the integrity of the RFS program," said RFA President Geoff Cooper.

As MRC informed earlier, Marathon Petroleum is at an impasse in negotiations with the local Teamsters union at its 104,000 barrel-per-day St. Paul Park, Minnesota, refinery. Marathon said in a letter dated April 29 the two parties are at an impasse with respect to "non-starter" proposals made by the union and other proposals made in the refiner's last, best and final offer the union in March.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.


mrcplast.com
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, neftegaz, petrochemistry.
Category:General News
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