NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global energy giants Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil have asked U.S. regulators for exemptions to the nation’s biofuels policy that have historically been reserved for small companies in financial distress, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The requests will add fuel to a raging dispute between Big Oil and Big Corn over how the Trump administration should manage the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a 2005 law that requires oil refiners to mix biofuels such as corn-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply, or buy government-awarded credits from other energy firms who the blending.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already issued an unusually high 25 hardship waivers to small refineries in recent months, according to an agency source, driving blending credit prices down and helping the oil industry reduce compliance costs.
But the agency won’t name the firms receiving the exemptions, citing a concern over disclosing private company information.
Both Chevron and Exxon, among the world’s most profitable energy companies, have asked EPA for waivers for their smallest facilities - Chevron’s 54,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Utah and the Exxon’s 60,000 bpd refinery in Montana, two sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The exemptions would free the plants from their obligation to hand in blending credits earned or purchased for 2017, which came due this year, the sources said.
The disclosure of the Chevron and Exxon applications, which have not been previously reported, follow a Reuters report this month that the EPA has exempted three of ten refineries owned by Andeavor, one of the biggest U.S. refining companies.