Second-largest refiner in the US applies for RFS waiver

Reuters is reporting that Marathon Petroleum, the second biggest refiner in the United States, has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive their ethanol blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RFS waivers can save companies tens of millions of dollars.

The request came in the form of a ‘hardship waiver’ application. These waivers are meant to protect small refiners producing less than 75,000 barrels oil per day from ‘disproportionate economic hardship’ caused by the RFS. Across its facilities, Marathon Petroleum averaged 1.94 million barrels of oil per day. However, individual facilities owned by the company that produce 75,000 or less are still eligible to apply for the waivers.

In 2017, the company reported $3.43 billion in earnings.

The biofuels industry has heavily criticised the EPA’s use of the waivers, alleging that the agency’s Administrator, Scott Pruitt, is undermining the biofuel support programme.

Oil refiners and corn growers have argued over the RFS for months, with oil refiners saying the policy is overly burdensome and farmers citing it as a key source of income for the agricultural communities. In an attempt to resolve the dispute, President Trump has offered a plan to reform the RFS. His measures include counting ethanol exports towards the RFS’ Renewable Volume Obligation for ethanol production, limiting the use of RFS waivers and making E15 available all year.

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