September 20, 2005


A push to build new US refineries: Hurricane damage highlights fall in capacity and boosts gas prices. (Mark Clayton, 9/21/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

It took one of the nation's worst natural disasters to do it. But momentum is growing to build new refineries in the United States after a 29-year hiatus.

By shutting down 20 percent of the country's oil- refining capacity in a single day - and boosting prices nationwide by more than 45 cents a gallon on average in a week - hurricane Katrina has exposed just how stretched the nation's refineries are. Now industry and Congress are looking at how to boost capacity.

"The call to establish more refineries is likely to be sounded again," writes Jason Schenker, an economist with Wachovia Securities in a recent analysis of Katrina's impact.

"We need to specifically address our nation's lack of refining capacity and finally do something about it," said Rep. John Sullivan (R) of Oklahoma in a statement last week. "Hurricane Katrina has further underscored the fact that our refining capacity is inadequate."

'Tis well that Katrina was so terrible, else conservatives would learn to love her.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2005 7:28 PM

I'd be willing to bet that there won't be a single new refinery representing new capacity opened in the US in the next 5 years.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 20, 2005 7:39 PM

David: No way I'd take that bet. How could we? We'll be too busy working on sending folks to the moon.

Posted by: John Resnick at September 20, 2005 7:43 PM

Pristine this.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 20, 2005 8:01 PM

Hillary's speech today was pretty much it will take 6-7 years to get any oil at all out of ANWR, so let's not drill there at all. With that kind of attitude, building a refinery anywhere in the Lower 48 that would get bi-partisan support is almost out of the question.

Posted by: John at September 20, 2005 8:14 PM

Didn't Bush propose using land freed up by military base closings to build more refineries?

As is often noted the GOP has majorities in the House and Senate and has the Presidency but the House and Senate continue to act like they are in the minority. The timing is right for more refineries and ANWR drilling - the GOP needs to just do it and force the Dems to explain why they don't want lower gas prices.

Posted by: AWW at September 20, 2005 8:49 PM

Don't forget muclear energy. Let's get some new ones on line.

Posted by: erp at September 20, 2005 10:28 PM

When gasoline hits $4.00 - $5.00 across the nation after Rita (probably on Saturday afternoon), millions of people are going to want to know why new refineries weren't built in the past 3.5 weeks.

Someone should be on TV right now talking about it, and putting down some markers. It's easy for Kerry and Clinton and the rest of the Senators in the Northeast to demagogue about energy, but not while the hard rain is falling. Get them on camera NOW. Squeeze them hard.

Posted by: ratbert at September 20, 2005 10:36 PM

Her husband said that it would take ten years 11 years ago.

Posted by: Genecis at September 20, 2005 11:02 PM

What boost??

I just paid $2.99-9 for primo in greater Chicagoland, haven't seen that for a few months.

Posted by: Sandy P at September 20, 2005 11:55 PM