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Par Pacific, Hawaii’s only refinery, suspends purchases of Russian crude oil

Par Pacific, the state’s only refinery, announced Thursday it is suspending all purchases of Russian crude oil.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 3:41 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Par Pacific, the state’s only refinery, announced Thursday it is suspending all purchases of Russian crude oil.

It’s estimated Russian oil accounts for at least 25% of Hawaii’s supply.

Lawmakers say Par Pacific’s decision could be a step toward a nationwide ban on all Russian imports.

“We actually will be proceeding with legislation in Congress in the next few days to really require that across the country if the administration doesn’t get there first,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Case.

Par Pacific’s decision serves as a clear example of how Russia’s invasion carries global impact.

The company says it is now turning to other sources from North and South America to meet petroleum demand here.

It's estimated Russian oil accounts for at least 25% of Hawaii's supply.

Hawaii Chief Energy Officer Scott Glenn also applauded Par Pacific’s decision.

“While we do not anticipate any supply concerns, HSEO reminds residents that energy prices are likely to remain high and perhaps go even higher due to uncertainty in the global energy markets,” he said.

“This market exposure underscores why Hawaii is focused on transitioning as quickly as it can to locally-produced renewable energy.”

In his recent state of the Union address, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is turning to alternate reserves. But bringing that oil to the Hawaii is a test of the Jones Act, a federal law that requires U.S. ships to transport products between American ports.

“Even though oil from Texas might be cheaper than oil from Russia, shipping it to Hawaii aboard Jones Act carriers makes it far more expensive,” Grassroot Institute of Hawaii president Kelii Akina said.

The impact of the Jones Act on the price of goods in Hawaii is debated.

Some studies show it doesn’t force up prices, but the price of oil could further push up energy costs.

AAA Hawaii announced Thursday that the state average for unleaded is at $4.63, an all-time high and nine cents higher than from just last week.

Case says the crisis underscores the importance of sustainable energy solutions.

“This should spur us on in the efforts that we have pursued both nationally and especially in Hawaii towards alternate energy sources,” Case said.

“Not only alternates to oil itself, but really, really across the board in all aspects of energy.”

Hawaiian Electric, which acquires its supply from Par Pacific, said Thursday that it also supports the decision to suspend Russian imports.

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