Source: Delco Times
America is experiencing a revolution that’s fundamentally changed how and where we get the energy that powers our economy. Thanks to our free markets, innovation, and strategic investments by many companies, the U.S. is now the world’s leading energy producer. Pennsylvanians have a unique opportunity to see direct benefits from this historic change, in the form of lower fuel prices, if markets are allowed to work in the interest of consumers here.
The abundant supplies of crude oil now being produced in North America, combined with huge investments by Midwest refiners, already are providing consumers in the Midwest with more low-cost, secure, domestically manufactured fuels. Pennsylvanians can share in these benefits if a proposal by Buckeye Partners to bring more of this lower cost fuel into the Commonwealth is allowed to proceed.
Buckeye Partners – which for more than 60 years has invested in Pennsylvania and employs over 400 people across the state – wants to ensure this new opportunity is delivered to families and businesses in the Commonwealth. To do this, we have proposed to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to reverse a portion of the Laurel Pipe Line, which would bring up to 40,000 barrels a day of more affordable fuel into Pennsylvania.
Because of the expanding production of Midwest refineries over the past decade, the average price of gasoline from those facilities continues to fall compared to East Coast supplies. This direct result of the energy revolution in the U.S. is a long-lasting and sustainable trend, and one that all Pennsylvanians should be allowed to enjoy.
Clear market forces are driving this proposal, which explains the positive and widespread support for this important project from trade unions, regional energy associations, free market policy advocates, and local family-owned small businesses.
This proposal “will ultimately benefit consumers throughout Pennsylvania, including many of our members,” Abe Amoros of the Laborers’ International Union of North America told the PUC this spring. We absolutely agree.
The project will “enhance fair and competitive pricing as well as reliable supply” to regional consumers, noted Len Zvorsky, executive director of the South Central Pennsylvania Energy Association, one of many supportive local business leaders and consumer advocates. Zvorsky also underscores the fact that the project “will make heating fuels and motor fuels more affordable for all Pennsylvania residential and commercial consumers.” Again, we absolutely agree.
We fully understand that some have concerns and want to know more about this project. A number of opponents of the project have expressed concerns about potential job losses at refineries on the Delaware River. As a Delaware Valley native who started my career in a local refinery, I take seriously – as does our entire company – any threat to local jobs. The refineries in this region are our customers, and we share in their success. That’s why we took meaningful steps to significantly expand their pipeline access to key regional markets in the Northeast, including the nation’s largest fuel import market, just 75 miles away in New York Harbor.
It is important to know that the Northeast U.S. remains the largest market in the country for foreign fuel imports. In fact, the area’s refiners can only supply about 60 percent of the fuel the region currently requires. The additional 40,000 barrels per day of Midwest supply that Laurel Pipe Line will bring into the state will allow the local refineries to offset some of the more than 500,000 barrels per day of foreign fuel imports that still come into the area.
It is also worth noting that similar predictions about dire consequences for local refiners were raised during the debate over lifting the outdated, decades-old ban on crude oil exports – predictions that of course did not come true. In fact, even with the export ban lifted, U.S. exports of fuels are at record highs, and according to Morningstar Research, the Delaware Valley refiners have recently experienced stronger performance.
It’s with an eye to the future made brighter by this ongoing and historic energy revolution that Buckeye is pursuing this critical project that will benefit Pennsylvania consumers and American energy security. We’re committed to delivering on the opportunity that low-cost, secure fuel brings, and to doing our part to see that Pennsylvanians benefit from it.