Anti energy left puts California in precarious position for transportation fuel
Earlier this year, during a five-month timespan, gasoline imports in California increased more than 10 times above their typical level, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.Liberals in California have blocked energy infrastructure projects and the state is infested with a fracking phobia. In addition the state has failed to update its water infrastructure and is pouring badly needed water into the ocean to benefit a few bait fish rather than provide it to the people. They oppose most of the drilling in Alaska needed to meet their needs and they make it virtually impossible for new refineries to come on line. They restrict building of new homes putting housing out of reach for the poor and middle class. No wonder so many Californians are moving to Texas.
The reason, officials said, was the Feb. 18 explosion at a refinery in Torrance, Calif. The facility, a vital source of gasoline and distillate fuels, has the capacity to refine more than 150,000 barrels of gasoline per day and supply 10 percent of California’s gasoline supply.
The refinery’s reduced capacity triggered supply shortfalls that sent regional wholesale and retail prices soaring to make up for the cost of importing more gasoline from nations like India, Russia, and the United Kingdom, the EIA says. Import quantities ranged from 28,000 to 68,000 barrels per day.
And that’s with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), a major energy artery for the lower 48 states, in operation. Imagine how much worse would it have been had the pipeline been offline.
That worst-case scenario, once considered improbable, could become a reality if we’re not careful.
Since its construction in the 1970s, TAPS has been moving crude from the Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope 800 miles south to the port of Valdez, where it’s later loaded into tankers and shipped to refineries throughout California and the West Coast, a major energy-consuming region.
At its peak, in 1988, the pipeline moved 2.1 million barrels of crude per day. In contrast, U.S. consumers used 19.05 million barrels of petroleum products per day in 2014. That means TAPS, at full capacity, has the ability to deliver about 11 percent of the nation’s petroleum needs. Unfortunately, it’s seen a gradual decline, down to around a half million barrels per day today.
This is why, for California and the rest of the West Coast, it’s critical we enact the sensible, balanced policies we need to keep Arctic energy production strong and the pipeline operational. One bright spot is the recent approval of new drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska, after 13 years of federal review, and study.
Unfortunately, judging by Shell’s recent decision to hold-off on its Arctic operations – after years and years of regulatory delays by bureaucrats in Washington — such a regulatory regime does not work for many companies.