U.S. oil refinery execs meet with Biden over high gas prices

Yahoo Finance's Jennifer Schonberger reports on the top takeaways from President Biden's meeting with seven oil refinery executives.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: After weeks of President Biden bashing big oil, the heads of seven top oil refining companies meeting at the White House with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. What was the White House's goal here? And was anything accomplished? Jen Schonberger here with the latest. Jen, it's been relatively quiet on all fronts following this meeting.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Good afternoon, Dave. That's right. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm met with executives from seven major oil refineries this morning to talk with them about how they can get oil prices down, which have skyrocketed this year. We are just getting word on how that meeting went from the administration. The Secretary made clear that the administration believes it is imperative that companies produce more oil to bring gas prices down at the pump.

According to the Department of Energy, that meeting took on a productive focus on dissecting the current global problems of supply and refining. The group discussed what the companies are doing to keep existing operations safely online, technical, economic, and policy hurdles to increasing domestic refining capacity, and the need to reinvest in current and future technologies.

Now, they also delved into actions that could increase preparedness on the East Coast, as we move deeper into the hurricane season here. And the Secretary expressed that today's meeting is part of an ongoing dialogue. Now, we are getting response in from the industry. A statement from Chevron's CEO Mike Wirth calls the meeting "constructive." He says, quote, "Today's meeting was a constructive conversation about addressing both near-term issues and the longer term stability of energy markets." He went on to say, "We remain optimistic about our ability to work together to achieve these shared objectives."

Among the other meeting attendees this morning, Marathon, Valero, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, and Shell. Other industry trade groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, also called the meeting constructive. Those two organizations saying in a joint statement, "While these challenges and their causes are complex, from Russia's war on Ukraine to market imbalances left over from COVID, productive outcomes today should send a positive signal to the market that the US is committed to long-term investment."

Now, this meeting comes after President Biden, who did not attend the meeting, sent a letter to seven industry executives underscoring that the company's profit margins have tripled this year to record levels and that they need to work with the administration to boost supply. Oil companies say they're producing as much as they can.

Chevron says it's produced a record volume as of last year and that US production was up 110,000 barrels per day in the first quarter. And they are increasing CapEx by 50% this year. Now this coming, of course, as gas prices have rocketed more than 60% over the past year, with the national average hovering around $5 a gallon, according to AAA.

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