Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) announced the closing of their doors a couple of weeks ago, but there was, and still is, a lot of uncertainty for what that means for the future of the union workers and the physical plant itself. PES recently announced its commitment to extend pay for union workers through August 25th, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania. U.S. Senator Bob Casey and PES representatives have confirmed that PES will pay its workers through the expiration of their collective-bargaining agreement. While the unions are holding on to hope that parts of the refinery will remain open or sell to a new operator quickly, it seems increasingly unlikely that will happen.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved request for an emergency fuel waiver for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler approved the waiver on Thursday May 30, 2019, one day after receiving the request. The emergency fuel waiver was submitted after damage to the Buckeye Laurel Pipeline created a supply shortage of 7.8 psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) in Allegheny County. Low RVP gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is typically supplied from refineries on the East Coast and the Laurel Pipeline disruption has effectively cutoff the supply.
Tensions in the Middle East rose again over the weekend after reports indicated that four oil vessels were “attacked” or “sabotaged” at the mouth of the Persian Gulf near Fujairah Emirate, just outside of the Strait of Hormuz. The United Arab Amirates (UAE) stated that the damaged ships were two crude oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabian shipping firm Bahri, one fuel bunker barge flying a UAE flag and Norwegian oil products tanker owned by Thome Ship management. These reports are still largely unconfirmed, but come as no surprise given the recent rhetoric and geopolitical tensions facing the region.
Global oil prices shot up quickly this week following reports that the Trump administration has decided to let Iranian oil sanctions exemptions expire at the end of the month. By ending sanctions exemptions, the administration has accelerated its goal of forcing Iran’s oil exports to zero. At a Monday press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clearly laid out the purpose of ending the waivers by stating “We are going to zero. How long we remain there, at zero, depends solely on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s senior leaders. We’ve made our demands very clear to the ayatollah and his cronies.”
March 21st marks the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, also known as March Madness, and you know what that means; an unproductive work force. Managers and HR departments struggle to keep their employees operating at a normal production level, and according to Chris Morris from www.fortune.com, “the average worker will spend up to six paid hours focusing on sports related activities during the tournament.”