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Sen. Proposes Bill to Expand Refiner Capacity

Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007 | 1:22 PM ET

With refiners failing to operate at maximum capacity, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) proposed a bill to take away government subsidies from oil companies if they do not increase refiner capacity.

"If you really want to help consumers who are getting clobbered at the pump, you've got to expand refinery capacity," Wyden said on "Morning Call."

He added that though Congress took action with the last energy bill to build more refineries, oil companies fail to keep consumers' interests in mind.

Boost Capacity
One proposal to cut billions of dollars of government subsidies if oil companies do not increase refining capacity, with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR; Charles Drevna, National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association EVP and CNBC's Liz Claman

"Right now we're basically just handing out billions of dollars, while these guys, as your traders have told you, are playing games," he said. "Oil companies, essentially, want to privatize their profits and socialize their losses."

They aren't looking for "special treatment," said National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association EVP Charles Drevna, as he defended the oil companies.

"We have expanded capacity at existing facilities that's equivalent to adding one new world class refinery per year," Drevna said.

He added that refineries can't be run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

"To produce the cleaner burning fuels that America deserves and needs, this causes refineries to run harder, and to run more robustly. Therefore, down times are more frequent," he said.