Climate bill could reduce US oil and gas production - study

24 August 2009 23:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Plunging petroleum investments, drastically declining refining and increasing reliance on imports could be the results if the initial climate change bill passed by the US House of Representatives becomes law, according to a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that was released on Monday.

The analysis, conducted by global consulting firm EnSys Energy, indicated that domestic refining capacity would be outsourced to countries without greenhouse-gas limitations and regulations, thus increasing imports on fuel and other petroleum products by as much as 20% by 2030.

US refining throughput could plummet by as much as 25%, or about 4.4m bbl/day, and investment in US refining could fall by as much as $90bn (€63bn).

HR 2454, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed by a 219-212 margin by the House in June.

According to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the legislation is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that will create clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America's energy independence and cut global warming pollution.

"We are reviewing the oil industry analysis," said a committee spokesperson. "It appears to have serious flaws and is not an accurate assessment of the legislation."

However, the API and other industry lobby groups have been very critical of the legislation because of the free emissions allowances it would distribute to various industries as part of its carbon cap-and-trade programme.

According to the bill, refiners would receive allowances for 2.25% of their carbon output, but would be held responsible for 44% of total emissions, the API said.

“In contrast, some other sectors receive free allowances that match or exceed their obligation,” the API said, which also indicated that the refining sector would be accountable for emissions from their operations as well as consumer emissions from planes, trains, automobiles, heating oil and other oil product uses.

“A deep decline in U.S. refining activity would have a ripple effect throughout the economy, affecting jobs in sectors beyond the oil and gas industry,” API president Jack Gerard said.

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