AFPM '14: AFPM targets Jones Act as part of free-trade policies

30 March 2014 02:26  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) considers the withdrawal of the Jones Act as part of the free-trade policies that it is pursuing, the head of the trade group said on Saturday.

The Jones Act requires that all shipments by water between US ports be carried by US-flagged, US-built and US-crewed vessels. The policy predates World War II.

"We should not be living in the shadows of the 1920s, when the Jones Act was enacted," AFPM president Charles Drevna said on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC). "That is one of the biggest inhibitors of free trade going."

The Jones Act has limited the ability of the oil industry to ship light grades of crude from the Gulf coast to the eastern part of the country. Gulf Coast refineries are designed to handle heavier grades of crude, while those along the east coast handle lighter grades.

The advent of shale oil has exacerbated this imbalance.

The Jones Act has not just disrupted oil shipments. Drevna noted that it also created a bottleneck to salt shipments to New Jersey during this year's unusually cold winter.

The discussion of the Jones Act comes in the midst of a larger debate about whether the US should ease restrictions on exports of crude oil.

Drevna has said that the AFPM would not oppose the easing of such restrictions.

Overall, the AFPM is promoting what Drevna said is a holistic approach to promoting free trade for the energy and petrochemical industry.

This includes the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates that refiners need to blend a specific volume of ethanol into their fuel. The AFPM has challenged that law.

It also includes the long-delayed 1,179-mile (1,897km) northern leg of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project that crosses the Canada-US border and requires US government approval. The project’s southern leg from Cushing, Oklahoma to the US Gulf coast is in operation.

Hosted by the AFPM, the IPC takes place 30 March through 1 April in San Antonio, Texas.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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