"[Gasoline exports have] been, really, I think, one of the most important fundamentals of the refining industry over the last five, six years," Heminger told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in an interview. "We exported 314,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter. Exported. That's about 17 percent of what we make. So that is very important, to be able to hit the foreign markets."
Foreign markets will likely drive Marathon's success in 2018 as well, according to Heminger's forecasts.
"We're expecting 2018, globally, to be up about 1.5 million barrels per day," the CEO said. "That's going to require more and more exports from the U.S. And the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, they're the best engines in the world."
Much of Marathon's refinery network is located in the Gulf Coast. The company currently refines about 2 million barrels per day, with nearly 70 percent of them counting as "assured volume," or product that they know will be sold the following day.
President Donald Trump has also been something of a boon to the country's oil and gas industry, pushing for deregulation that could make for easier infrastructure projects.
Heminger told Cramer that he met with Trump when the president was giving a speech on infrastructure in Cincinnati.
"His questions were, 'Are we doing better on permitting?' Not permitting for just pipelines, but permitting in refining, building terminals and pipelines as well, and that's very important," the CEO said.
Heminger echoed another top energy executive, Tellurian Chairman Charif Souki, in calling for infrastructure improvements across the energy industry.
"It's very important that we continue to be able to build new pipelines," Heminger told Cramer. "We need a lot of work and a lot of investment in the rivers. Both the Mississippi and the Ohio river — they need infrastructure investment. So the president and the administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, are both very pro the energy industry."