Refiners Association touts fossil fuels in U.S.

The Obama Administration’s decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline will demonstrate whether the president’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy was real or just campaign rhetoric, the president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers said Wednesday.

The United States is on the cusp of a manufacturing renaissance unlike any in history, Drevna said.

Companies are investing billions of dollars along the Gulf Coast and in Pennsylvania to take advantage of low-priced natural gas.

“Fossil fuels are going to be the mainstay of this nation’s economy,” Drevna said.

But energy independence isn’t going to be a U.S.-only proposition, Drevna said. The United States will be relying on Canada, so there will be North American energy independence.

Drevna is one of the keynote speakers at Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association’s 90th annual meeting in New Orleans on Thursday. He spoke to The Advocate during an interview in Gonzales.

The Canadian tar sands can produce 700,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude per day, Drevna said. That will feed a lot of refineries, and the Gulf Coast refineries are a perfect match for processing that heavier crude.

Drevna said the Canadian oil will help keep Gulf Coast refineries operating at a higher capacity, providing American consumers with products they need, while allowing refiners to export some of the diesel and gasoline made with that oil.

The Canadian oil will help replace imports from Venezuela and Mexico, which are trending downward, Drevna said. And exports of gasoline and diesel will help with the balance of trade and keep jobs here.

However, Eddie Scher, a spokesman for the Sierra Club, said the benefits of the XL Pipeline have been wildly exaggerated.

“It’s great. It’s going to restore democracy to the planet. It’s going to change the color of the moon to a nicer hue,” Scher joked.

The truth is the XL Pipeline will send the oil to overseas diesel markets, Scher said. The United States will get nothing from the pipeline except the risks of pollution and higher fuel prices.

According to the Sierra Club, sending cheap Canadian crude to Gulf Coast refineries for export will drain Midwest refineries and increase the cost of gas.

“The only thing that will bring energy security is to stop using oil,” Scher said.

The U.S. military knows that and has a massive program to shift to renewable fuels, he said. The United States has made enormous strides in adopting solar power over the past five years, Scher said. If the country can continue that pace over the next five years, half of U.S. energy will be solar-generated.

However, Drevna said heavily subsidized alternative fuels aren’t going to drive the economy. The emphasis on those uneconomic products, at the expense of fossil fuels, will lead the United States down a dead-end path of higher energy costs and more unemployment, Drevna said.