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Shell Bakersfield Refinery

Regulators to Examine Shell’s Closing of California Refinery

New York Times: Regulators to Examine Shell’s Closing of California Refinery

‘William E. Kovacic, the F.T.C.’s general counsel, said the agency’s investigation would “examine possible antitrust violations” by Shell’

Published: July 8, 2004

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Reuters) – The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that it had begun a formal investigation into the Royal Dutch/Shell Group’s plan to shut a California oil refinery, after some lawmakers said that closing it would hurt competition and increase gasoline prices on the West Coast.

William E. Kovacic, the F.T.C.’s general counsel, said the agency’s investigation would “examine possible antitrust violations” by Shell in closing the 70,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Bakersfield. read more

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FTC Acts Against Two Oil Companies

The Wall Street Journal: FTC Acts Against Two Oil Companies

“The launch of a formal investigation means the FTC has the authority to issue subpoenas to Shell”

By JEFFREY BALL and EMILY CHASAN

Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

July 8, 2004; Page A3

In two moves to crack down on alleged efforts to keep gasoline prices high, the Federal Trade Commission said it launched a formal investigation into the planned closing of a Royal Dutch/Shell Group refinery in California and it reinstated an antitrust complaint against Unocal Corp.

The commission’s actions come in the wake of record U.S. gasoline prices, which climbed to an average of more than $2 a gallon nationwide this year before pulling back a bit recently. The moves also come as the commission is under fire for failing to police the petroleum industry, most recently in a General Accounting Office report that concluded oil-company mergers approved by the commission in recent years contributed to higher gasoline prices. read more

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FTC examines Shell’s shutdown of California plant

Houston Chronicle: Refinery closing questioned: FTC examines Shell’s shutdown of California plant

“formal antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission”

By NELSON ANTOSH

July 7, 2004, 11:02PM

Posted 8 July 04

Controversy over Shell Oil’s decision to close a refinery in California has escalated into a formal antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

A senior official of the agency made the disclosure at a House subcommittee hearing on gasoline prices in Washington on Wednesday, although he provided few details.

Shutting the refinery in Bakersfield could be blocked if the agency finds antitrust violations, William Kovacic, the agency’s general counsel, told reporters after the hearing. read more

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FTC Opens Probe Of Shell Oil Co Refinery

The Wall Street Journal: FTC Opens Probe Of Shell Oil Co Refinery

“William Kovacic, the FTC’s general counsel, said subpoenas already have been served”

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

July 7, 2004 12:35 p.m.

Posted 8 July 04

WASHINGTON (AP)–The Federal Trade Commission has begun a formal investigation of the proposed shutdown of a Shell Oil Co. (RD) refinery in California to determine possible antitrust violations, a senior FTC official said Wednesday.

The refinery near Bakersfield, Calf., has been the subject of intense controversy as Shell (SC) officials plan to close the facility in November. The oil company said the refinery was being shut down because of a decline in oil production in the region. read more

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North County Times: Shell accused of shorting gas supply

North County Times: Shell accused of shorting gas supply

By: EDMOND JACOBY – Staff Writer

Posted 28 June 04

As North County’s —- indeed, California’s —- motoring public adapts to unrelenting high retail gasoline prices that some pundits say will move past the $2.50-per-gallon mark before summer’s end, one refiner has come under fire for allegedly setting refinery maintenance schedules that limit gasoline output during periods of peak demand.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights of Santa Monica on Monday charged that Shell Oil Co. set maintenance schedules for California refineries during the last few weeks before the Labor Day weekend, when gasoline consumption surges. read more

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SantaMariaTimes.com: Keeping gas prices up there

SantaMariaTimes.com: Keeping gas prices up there

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

It was reported Monday that Shell Oil Co. has plans to reduce production at its Bakersfield refinery – just in time for California’s busiest summer vacation driving period.

Shell officials deny that any cutbacks are planned, which did not prevent several elected officials and consumer groups from suggesting Shell is slowing production in an effort to boost prices, and therefore profits.

There is another possible explanation for Shell considering a slowdown in production months before its announced date to close the Bakersfield refinery, and it also has to do with profits. Shell may need the extra cash to pay for a ghastly mistake made in southern states about a month ago. read more

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Reports of cutbacks in summertime gas false, Shell Oil says

Sacramento Bee: Reports of cutbacks in summertime gas false, Shell Oil says

By Melanie Payne — Bee Staff Writer

Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Shell Oil Co. denied Monday that it will cut summertime gasoline production at its refineries in Bakersfield and Martinez.

A story in the Los Angeles Times, citing internal documents, reported that the company would cut crude oil processing by 10 percent during July at the Martinez refinery and by 6 percent in July and August at the Bakersfield refinery Shell intends to close.

The article set off a flurry of letters from Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, to state Attorney General Bill Lockyer and to the Federal Trade Commission. read more

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Regulators Given Internal Shell Documents

USNewsWires.com: Regulators Given Internal Shell Documents

Posted 22 June 04

Regulators Given Internal Shell Documents Showing Refinery Slow Down Leading Up to Labor Day; Huge Profits Reported At Bakersfield Refinery Slated For Closure

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 21 /U.S. Newswire/ – The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is handing over internal Shell Oil documents today to the Federal Trade Commission and the California Attorney General that show Shell Oil is slowing down production at its Bakersfield and Martinez refineries for “routine maintenance” leading up to the busiest driving holiday of the year – a tactic to reduce supply also used by electricity producers during California’s energy crisis. read more

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Shell to Cut Summer Output at Bakersfield Refinery, Leaked Papers Say

Los Angeles Times: Shell to Cut Summer Output at Bakersfield Refinery, Leaked Papers Say

By Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff Writer

June 21, 2004

Shell Oil Co. plans to put the brakes on production at its Bakersfield refinery in July and August, potentially shorting California’s fuel supplies during the summertime driving season, according to internal Shell documents.

The planned cutback is the latest development in the controversy over the refinery, which can process up to 70,000 barrels a day of crude oil and makes about 2% of California’s gasoline supply and 6% of its diesel. Shell has said it will close the facility Oct. 1 in a move that experts predict will boost pump prices by worsening the chronic imbalance between supply and demand in the state. read more

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Senator Wyden Maintains Hold On FTC Nominee Over Gas Prices

The Wall Street Journal: Senator Wyden Maintains Hold On FTC Nominee Over Gas Prices

By MARK WIGFIELD

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

June 3, 2004

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said Wednesday he would continue to block the Bush administration’s nominee for chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission after she failed to convince him that she would aggressively police gasoline prices.

Wyden’s questioning of Republican nominee Deborah Majoras dominated the confirmation hearing as he pushed her to change direction of an agency he said has failed to protect consumers from what he called anticompetitive practices in the gasoline industry. read more

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Los Angeles Times: Shell’s Refinery Shutdown: Standard Business Practice

Los Angeles Times: Shell’s Refinery Shutdown: Standard Business Practice

By Michael Hiltzik

May 20, 2004   

Every so often a major corporation, following its natural instinct to root out another few pennies of profit per share, drives blindly into a political quagmire. It leaves a community without employment by closing a factory, bulldozes a landmark to put up another drive-through restaurant, dumps wastewater in a bucolic swimming hole — you know the sort of thing.

These are salutary events in their way, because they remind people that as much as big businesses love to drape themselves in patriotism and good works, they’re not charities.
read more

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Oakland Tribune: Boxer pointing finger at Shell

Oakland Tribune: Boxer pointing finger at Shell

By Associated Press

Posted 20 May 04

WASHINGTON — California Sen. Barbara Boxer accused Shell Oil on Tuesday of planning to begin shutting down its refinery in Bakersfield sooner than publicly disclosed. A company spokesman denied the allegation.

“My information is that Shell is planning to begin the shutdown process as early as August by taking production units off line,” Boxer wrote in a letter to the president of Shell, Lynn Laverty Elsenhans.

“To take refinery units off-line in August, when summer gas prices are at a peak, will only worsen the problem of insufficient supply. … If true, then your earlier statements of an October shutdown are not accurate.”
read more

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Sacramento Bee: Shell denies greed spurs the closure

Sacramento Bee: Shell denies greed spurs the closure

By Dale Kasler — Bee Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

BAKERSFIELD – In the furious debate over California’s gasoline prices, the Shell Oil refinery in Bakersfield – a forlorn mess of pipes and boilers on a state road choking on truck fumes – usually got overlooked. Until Shell decided to close it.

Set for an Oct. 1 shutdown, the refinery produces just a sliver of the state’s motor fuel but has been embraced as a cherished resource by economists, elected officials and consumer advocates. They say losing the refinery could be devastating in a market where the balance between supply and demand is extraordinarily delicate.
read more

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New Californian Senate Panel To Examine Gasoline, Diesel Pricing

The Wall Street Journal: New Californian Senate Panel To Examine Gasoline, Diesel Pricing

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

May 19, 2004 7:31 a.m.

NEW YORK — A newly-formed California Senate committee will investigate oil companies’ market behavior in the face of record-high gasoline prices in the state, an aide to committee chairman Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Santa Ana, said Tuesday.

Dunn’s Senate Select Committee on Gasoline and Diesel Pricing will be similar in design to a panel he chaired in 2001-2003 to examine electricity price manipulation during California’s energy crisis, the aide said.
read more

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State Lawmakers To Probe Reason For High Californian Gas Prices

The Wall Street Journal: State Lawmakers To Probe Reason For High Californian Gas Prices

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

May 18, 2004 7:48 a.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP)–State lawmakers will probe what’s behind California’s high gas prices following an increase in the average price of self-serve regular to a new high of $2.269 per gallon.

The new Senate Select Committee on Gasoline and Diesel Pricing announced Monday it will launch an investigation patterned after the inquiry into manipulation of California’s energy market in 2000 and 2001, said Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco.
read more

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TheBakersfieldChannel.com: Shell Has No Plans To Cover Refinery’s Loss

TheBakersfieldChannel.com: Shell Has No Plans To Cover Refinery’s Loss

KERO Interviews Refinery Manager

Posted 12 May 2004

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As the closing date approaches, the controversy surrounding the closure of the Shell Refinery on Rosedale Highway continues to heat up, KERO reported.

Consumer Reporter Heidi Carter sat down with the refinery manager, who said the Bakersfield refinery isn’t efficient enough to keep open, even though it’s making a profit.

Amir Farid said the Rosedale refinery isn’t as efficient as Shell’s two other California refineries, which is why Shell will close it down at the end of September.
read more

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