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Five key takeaways from the AFPM Annual Meeting

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Following the recent AFPM Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, US, the AFPM has released a snapshot of some of the key themes discussed throughout the conference:

2024 is critical as new government policies threaten US energy security

Across the board, speakers agreed 2024 will be defining in terms of the policy trajectory it will set for the US. But there is significant frustration over policymakers not being accessible for tough questions about the legislation and regulations they are pursuing. Americans certainly deserve to hear directly from their elected officials about policies that stand to impact their daily lives. If not through a longform interview, the clear preference of Face the Nation’s Margaret Brennan, then Americans should at least have the chance to hear policies discussed within the context of rigorous election year debates.

AFPM agrees. The US President owes it to Americans to explain clearly why his administration is rushing to ban new gas, diesel and traditional hybrid cars.

Serious transportation and emissions policy has to consider lifecycle

Toyota’s Cooper Ericksen stressed in his presentation that the US can and should reduce emissions without effectively banning gas- and diesel-powered cars and trucks. For instance, Toyota’s 1:6:90 rule makes the argument that the same amount of critical minerals needed to make a single battery-electric vehicle (BEV) could be used to make six plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or 90 traditional hybrids, and the carbon emissions reductions from those 90 hybrids would far exceed the BEV and PHEV routes.

Good policy, whether for cars, fuels or plastics, should be technology-neutral and take an honest accounting of holistic environmental impacts and lifecycle emissions.

‘Every refinery is special’

US refiners are positioned to be global leaders for the foreseeable future, according to the expert panel at this year’s World Refining Outlook. In fact, the US has more capacity capable of refining the toughest crude slates than any other country.

But as one speaker reinforced, it is essential to remember that no two refineries are alike. They run on different crude slates, use different technologies, have different market access and varying layers of regulation to satisfy based on where they are located and where they send their products.

Leveraging the full capabilities of the US’ diverse refining kit, in addition to integrating petrochemicals, biofuels and more renewable feedstocks, will be essential to maintaining the country’s refining competitiveness.

The energy ‘transition’ isn't monolithic.

The energy industry is evolving, and US refining and petrochemical companies are leading the way, all the while continuing to supply the country and allies around the world with critical fuels and manufacturing building blocks. The conference outlined the work that AFPM members are doing to reduce plastic waste, bring lower carbon-intensity fuels to market, lower emissions from their own operations and legacy products, and support EV manufacturing.

It is important to employ a diversity of energy types and technologies to meet the moment and supply a growing world.

Safety is never proprietary

AFPM members are committed to the highest levels of process and occupational safety, modelling at every level the ethos that ‘safety isn’t proprietary.’ As AFPM President and CEO Chet Thompson said in his opening remarks, “our industries are among the safest in the United States.”

From the wide-ranging sessions at the Annual Meeting to the presentations of 2024 Distinguished Safety Awards, it is clear that ensuring the safety of employees, communities and the environment is the most important part of industry work.

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