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Motiva Enterprises Refinery Expansion Groundbreaking

December 10, 2007 - 4:44pm

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Remarks as Prepared for Secretary Bodman

Thank you, Bill.  It's good to see Congressman Poe, Rob Routs, Mr. Al-Khayyal and Mayor Prince here.  Thank you all for inviting me to be part of this occasion.

In 1901 Texas wildcatters struck oil near here at a place called Spindletop, setting off the Texas Oil Boom.  Like the California Gold Rush some 50 years before, the Texas Oil Boom helped to build America.

People moved across the country in search of prosperity.  To achieve it, they needed to develop new technologies and build new infrastructure like the original parts of the Port Arthur refinery, which opened here in 1903.  As America's need for energy expanded as our demand for oil and gas grew in tandem with our economy and our mobility this refinery expanded too.

Today, we're here to break ground on another expansion.  I particularly want to thank the leadership of Motiva, operated jointly by Shell and Saudi Refining, Inc., for having the vision to move ahead with it.

When this expansion is complete this facility which is now one of the preeminent refineries on the Gulf Coast will become the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world.  And, if I may be direct, this comes not a moment too soon.

We live in a period in which the oil supply is carelessly close to increasing demand.  U.S. refinery capacity is tight especially considering the variety of transportation fuel blends required in the U.S. market.  And of course the standards for these blends vary during the course of the year.

As everyone knows, tight supplies in a time of heightened demand lead to higher prices.  These higher prices are an indirect tax on the American family and it doesn't have to be this way.  New investment, in both alternative energy and conventional sources, will boost supply and reduce pressure on prices.

The new energy reality is that, according to the International Energy Agency, world energy demand will increase by 55 percent between the years 2005 and 2030, triggering the need for a minimum of $22 trillion of investment in new infrastructure.

At home, U.S. energy demand will increase by 23 percent over the same period, with a 19 percent increase in the demand for oil and other liquid fuels.

All of this creates a clear and present challenge to America's energy security.

We must push for the expansion of existing facilities and for the replacement of outdated methods of production by new clean, energy efficient technologies.  We must also commit to the construction of new, state of the art refineries that will help America meet its petroleum needs well into the future.  And we must have new investments, investments like Motiva is making here.

What we are recognizing today is not just an investment in a single refinery it's an investment in America's future prosperity.  Likewise, we must seek out new energy sources and new technologies and we must work with Congress, the states and the private sector to establish policies and programs that will make those investments, like this one, even more attractive.

As the report I commissioned from the National Petroleum Council makes clear, oil and gas will remain a major source of energy for this country well into the future.  We must do all we can to ensure the availability and the affordability of oil and gas in our country.

To fail in this regard would, in my judgment, have a negative impact on the U.S. economy and lead, eventually, to a reduction in the quality of life we enjoy today in America.

It took a long time for America to get to this point; the progress we need to make to enhance our energy security through the diversification and creation of new energy supplies, suppliers and supply routes won't happen overnight.  But, as this ground breaking indicates, that effort is starting.

Let me again offer my congratulations to Motiva and to Shell and Saudi Aramco for the expansion of this facility something by which all Americans will benefit.

Thank you.

Location: Port Arthur, Texas

Media contact(s): Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940

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