Monday, February 11, 2008

California's Oil Import Problem

Writing in today, Chuck Marvin takes a look at urgent need to upgrade our crude oil import capacity in California and the pushback that industry is getting from environmenatlists and NIMBY's. While this is hardly "news" in California, in fairness, Marvin has a larger audience...

According to Marvin, the battle lines are drawn at the ports where our liquid storage facility capabilites are falling way behind demand for imported crude. Do to refinery creep, falling in-state production, and higher demand, the need for more crude is growing, but that need is being blunted by local control at the port level:

"The crux of the debate rests on the issue of who gets to decide what items enter and leave major ports. While ports are typically municipal bodies with power ceded to them by cities, the decisions that port authorities make do not only affect local concerns. Rather, their decisions trickle through to a broad base of stakeholders, many of whom are not given the right to elect or choose those who make the original decisions."

Substantiating the growing demand argument, he cites a CEC report from September:

"A CEC report published last September concluded that the supply and demand for oil and refined products in California are expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. Crude imports are estimated to rise as much as 34%, or 138 million barrels per year, from 2005 levels by 2015. Imports of petroleum products like jet fuel are expected to grow by 116 million barrels a year by 2015."

California Oil Imports Debate Heats Up [The]