“If the U.S. stands in the background, Russia will move forward, and things won’t be as good as they could be if the U.S. had a seat at the table in the Arctic,” said Jed Hamilton, senior Arctic consultant at Exxon Mobil Upstream Research Company.
The extended delay could leave the refinery operating an no more than 20 percent capacity for a full 12 months after the facility was damaged in an explosion on Feb. 18. The primary piece taken out of commission was the electrostatic precipitator, or ESP, which is a large emission-controlling device.
Stung by the 58 percent plunge in U.S. oil prices since June 2014, many drillers face stark choices: shut down rigs to conserve capital and wait out the bust, or surrender some independence to a deep-pocketed savior in exchange for a shot at a future windfall.
Democratic California congressional members Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters wrote to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Wednesday asking for the Sept. 6 acid leak to be included into the broader investigation of Exxon Mobil’s operations as the refinery.
The summer saw high gasoline demand and ever-cheapening prices at the pump, but the fall is expected to see up to 1.3 million fewer barrels of crude oil a day processed into gasoline by refineries while some plants are temporarily shut down, said analyst Brad Heffern of RBC Capital Markets.
The report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that the last time prices were these low was 2004. The price of a regular gallon of gasoline is down 95 cents from the same time in 2014.
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