'Six months ago the U.S. oil industry scored a surprise win against farm groups when the Obama administration proposed slashing the amount of ethanol refiners must blend into gasoline, a move that could save them billions of dollars," says Reuters here.
"The clash has been portrayed as a battle between 'Big Oil' and 'Big Corn,' two powerful and deep-pocketed lobbies. But a Reuters review of public records and interviews with lawmakers, lobbyists and executives reveals [that] some of the most effective players in the fight weren't traditional oil majors but rather the Carlyle Group [one of Pa.'s biggest employers] and Delta Air Lines, owners of two Philadelphia-area [oil] refiners," along with PBF Energy, which runs additional Philly-area refineries at nearby Delaware City, Del. and Paulsboro, NJ.
Philadelphia nearly lost its refineries when Sunoco and other old-line oil importers and refiners, after years of falling investment, decided after 2010 that they were no longer profitable to operate. But new owners with more energy have raised money -- some of it from taxpayers, in the case of the Philadelphia and Delaware City plants -- for equipment upgrades, just as North American fuel supplies have come online. They also appear to be savvy operators in Washington:
n the Obama White House, the Philly oilmen's "pitch was familiar: a year earlier, many of the same players had worked [together] to rescue Philadelphia refineries from closure, saving jobs and keeping a lid on East Coast gas prices. In one exchange last July, Philadelphia Congressman Robert Brady (D-Phila.) contacted Vice President Joe Biden [a former U.S. Senator from Delaware] on behalf of Carlyle, which bought two struggling refineries in his district in 2012. They had been on the brink of closure due to lower margins then; now they were threatened by biofuel mandates, whose cost eclipses the salaries of all refinery workers combined.