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An emergency meeting between Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and representatives of the oil industry ended with no firm commitments from either side, although the Energy Secretary signaled that the plan to ban fuel exports might be taken off the table.
Per a readout released by the Department of Energy, Granholm seems to have reiterated to industry insiders that the domestic market needs more refined oil products in the form of fuels—something both her and President Biden have been saying for a while now.
Unlike the President, who directly accused the industry of taking advantage of the high-price situation, the Energy Secretary chose a conciliatory tone, telling the industry that she was aware there was no short-term solution to the fuel price problem.
Still, the Energy Secretary "reiterated that (Biden) is prepared to act quickly and decisively, using the tools available to him as appropriate," per an Energy Department spokesperson, as quoted by Reuters.
According to unnamed industry sources who spoke to Reuters, the two sides could not reach an agreement on the most important points for each of them, despite Granholm's readiness to abandon the ban on fuel exports as an option and a readiness to consider lifting anti-smog rules to lower prices at the pump.
Talks will continue despite the differences, according to the Reuters sources.
President Biden earlier this month lashed out at the oil industry, claiming it made a boatload of money thanks to rising oil prices and should be using that money to boost production and refining.
The industry, in the face of Exxon and Chevron, responded with investment data and criticism of federal energy policies, which have served to discourage further investments in production and refining.
In response, the President reaffirmed his hostile stance on the oil industry, calling Chevron's CEO "mildly sensitive" and saying, "I didn't know they would get their feelings hurt so quickly."
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.