April 27, 2020 [S&P Global Platts- Published on April 27, 2020] – A surge of Saudi crude is heading for US ports, the result of the OPEC heavyweight slashing its April selling prices during the thick of its price war with Russia last month.
Oil-state senators are calling on the White House to impose tariffs or other trade barriers to stop the deliveries. So far President Trump has not addressed the looming imports, but Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette called it a case of free-market trade that happens to benefit US refiners.
We spoke with two officials from AFPM, the trade group in Washington that represents those refiners. They’ve been lobbying the White House to resist pressure for tariffs on crude imports.
Derrick Morgan, AFPM’s senior vice president for federal affairs, explains the case they made to the White House against blocking foreign oil imports and why US refiners need this particular crude, even though the country already has a glut of domestic barrels searching for storage.
We also look at the rough economic conditions for US refiners right now as gasoline demand has been cut in half and the timeline for states lifting stay-at-home orders remains uncertain.
Susan Grissom, AFPM’s chief industry analyst, tells us how US refiners are retooling their yields to focus less on gasoline than they have in the past and how that could be a long-term shift.
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