In written testimony to the U.S. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, the American Maritime Partnership (AMP) criticized and corrected an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that said American tank vessels may be “in short supply” if a Northeast refinery closes later this year.
EIA’s assessment came in a February, 2012 report titled Potential Impacts of Reductions in Refinery Activity on Northeast Petroleum Markets. That report counted only American tankers and not tank barges, thereby missing about 50% of American tank vessel capacity, a “substantial error,” AMP testified.
AMP told the Committee that ample American tank vessel capacity exists to transport any additional petroleum product. The Committee is meeting today regarding the impact of possible refinery closures on petroleum supplies in the Northeast.
Since the issuance of the original report, EIA has conceded that it missed counting about 270 tank vessels, including large articulated tug barges, but has refused to change its conclusions.
“Remarkably, EIA now finds itself taking the position that even though it failed to count approximately 50 percent of the American tank vessel capacity, its original conclusion has not changed,” the AMP testified. “More recently, EIA has said that ‘there may be no way to address [our] concerns’ and that ‘assessing the degree of impact may not be possible.'”
AMP represents all elements of the American domestic maritime industry, including vessel operators, shipbuilders, maritime personnel, and pro-defense organizations.
“We are deeply disappointed that EIA made no attempt to speak to industry officials before issuing its original report and now refuses to alter its original erroneous conclusion,” the AMP said. “To our amazement, the original study with vessel numbers that even EIA admits are blatantly wrong remains prominently displayed on the EIA website.”