Shell and Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, took five years and spent $10 billion to upgrade a Port Arthur, Texas, oil refinery. The expansion means refining capacity has increased from 280,000 barrels of oil per day to 600,000 bpd.
Operators say the upgrades mean the refinery can deliver more petroleum products to the global market. Neal Walters, an energy consultant at the company A.T. Kearney, told National Public Radio that exports didn't translate to benefits for most U.S. consumers.
"Don't expect it to have any significant impact on the prices paid for gasoline at the pumps," he said.
Similar sentiments were expressed last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a 16-page report, the NRDC said the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline would divert oil away from refineries in the U.S. Midwest, which produce gasoline, to refineries along the southern coast, which produce diesel.
"By taking oil from Midwestern gasoline refineries to Gulf Coast diesel refineries, Keystone XL will decrease the amount of gasoline available to American consumers," thereby increasing prices, the report states.
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