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U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and the governors of six Northeast states met this week to discuss high LNG and other fuels costs heading into winter demand season—but the response from the Department of Energy ended without any concrete plans to alleviate what many suspect could be a rough energy winter.
The meeting came after six governors wrote in July to Secretary Granholm, concerned about the high price of LNG and other fuels. The meeting centered around making sure the region—which is sitting on the lowest stockpiles for distillates ever—has enough fuels heading into peak demand season.
To that end, Granholm has asked oil and gas companies to make sure “they are building adequate inventories to handle disruptions from hurricanes or other events.” But purchases of fuels in a backward dated market does not encourage buying for storage.
The governors asked about its heating oil and gasoline reserves in the region, which hold 2 million barrels, and whether it could be modernized.
The governors had also asked in July for a Jones Act waiver, at least through the winter months, to allow easier shipments of fuels to the region. The region typically gets a lot of fuels from a refinery in Canada that is now shuttered—last year, it purchased fuels from Russia. Neither supplier will be a viable option this winter.
Regarding the Jones Act, the governors were told that if there was an issue where additional supplies are needed, the DOE would work with the states to “see what tools are needed.”
In a statement, the DOE underscored the concern about the low levels of privately-held refined product inventories in key regions, including New England.”
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.