KERO Insider Says Shell Planned To Manipulate Prices
KERO – The Bakersfield Channel (Bakersfield, CA)
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — KERO has obtained documents that show Shell Oil planned to reduce production at one of its California plants during busy summer months. A consumer group said the planned closure was an effort to raise gas prices when people drive most.
The documents, which were obtained from a confidential Shell insider, show how oil production would be slowed at one of its plants over the next few months.
According to the documents, production at the Martinez refinery was at one time slated to go from 146,000 barrels per day in June down to 127,000 barrels per day in July and then to 131,000 barrels per day in August.
The papers were similar to documents obtained by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which also showed the Bakersfield refinery dropping in production by 6 percent.
Spokesman Stan Mays told KERO the documents were real but they were just preliminary proposals. He said the reason the barrels per day dropped so drastically was because of scheduled maintenance at the refinery. Mays would not disclose the current barrel-per-day proposals.
“Were going to continue to operate refinery as we would normally through the summer. There is no planned slowdown,” Mays said.
In the meantime, the Bakersfield refinery is still scheduled to close Oct. 1. It made $5 million in profit last year and $24 million in profits to date this year.
Shell officials said despite the five-year profit, the margin average is almost flat and expenses are high.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is hoping the Attorney General’s Office will step in and mediate the sale of the Bakersfield refinery. So far, 23 offers have been made, but Shell officials said none of them were credible.