Chevron Chief Blasts Independent Refiners Over Opposition To Lifting Oil Export Ban

John S. Watson spoke to the Greater Houston Partnership days ahead of an expected congressional vote on whether to repeal the embargo.


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John S. Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron, had some harsh words for independent refiners who oppose lifting the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. Watson was the main speaker at the Greater Houston Partnership’s second annual State of Energy event.

It’s a major point of contention between the upstream and downstream segments of the oil and gas industry. Exploration and production firms tend to favor lifting the crude oil export ban, which would let them sell to world markets at higher prices than they can get at home. Independent refiners worry lifting the ban will drive up the cost of crude oil, w

John S. Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron
John S. Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron, right, answers a question posed by Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director of energy and sustainability, University of California, Davis.

hich they use to manufacture their products.

So where does that put Chevron, a company with both up- and downstream operations?

“There is no case for consumers, because the sellers of gasoline are going to seek the highest price,” Watson said.

He noted that refiners can export gasoline and diesel.

“If you really think it through, if you artificially keep crude oil prices down, there will be less crude oil produced on the world market. That will drive prices up,” he said.

A bill to repeal the 40-year-old export ban (HR 702) is expected to go to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote sometime this week. A similar measure recently passed the Senate Banking Committee.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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