Efforts by U.S. officials and oil firms to waive Jones Act shipping requirements and increase available oil tankers to the Northeast are so far dead in the water, the U.S. Department of Transportation said.
"No one has made a credible case in the Executive branch or Congress to grant waivers or eviscerate the Jones Act," John Graykowski, acting administrator of the Maritime Administration told Reuters. The Jones Act -- which is overseen by the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration department -- requires crude oil and refined products to sail in U.S. flagged ships when in U.S. waters.
Amid tight tanker availabilities, oil firms have claimed difficulty in finding ships to transport oil released during October and November from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to replenish low heating oil inventories in the Northeast.
In each case when company has come forward requesting a waiver, Graykowski says that the Maritime Administration has found them appropriate U.S. vessels.
In addition, a proposal by House of Representatives Energy & Power Subcommittee chair Joe Barton of Texas for a larger temporary waiver "did not result in Congress taking any action," Graykowski added.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson said that Jones Act waivers were
still being reviewed on a "case by case basis."