Big Oil CEO’s Ties To Trump Paying Off

Energy Transfer Partners Awarded Second-Largest Strategic Petroleum Reserve Contract, CEO Warren Also Poised To Score Major Public Lands Swap From Administration

HELENA, MT – After news broke that big oil conglomerate Energy Transfer Partners secured the second-largest contract to store surplus oil in America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an unprecedented move by the Trump administration and with more questions raised regarding the corporation’s disastrous environmental track record, Western Values Project released new research on the corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren’s deep ties to the Trump administration, including a controversial public lands swap.

“Even as demand and prices rebound from the oil glut caused by the Trump administration’s disastrous policies, big oil keeps scoring more and more taxpayer-backed bailouts. Everyone from energy analysts to top-level Department of Energy officials have panned this latest giveaway,” said Jayson O’Neill, Western Values Project Director. “The cherry on top of the Trump administration’s favoritism towards big oil corporations are these insider deals that further undermine America’s public lands and outdoor heritage.”

The details of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) unprecedented privately-owned SPR contracts were obtained by and reported on by Argus. Of the total 23.2 million barrels of storage contracts to nine big oil corporations were awarded, the largest went to ExxonMobil for 10 million barrels with the second largest going to Energy Transfer Partners’ subsidiary Sunoco for 6.2 million barrels.

Leasing space in the SPR to privately-owned big oil corporations has never been done before and may not even be legal after legislation to authorize it failed to pass in 2018. Further, Steven Winberg, DOE Assistant Secretary For Fossil Energy, said leasing SPR space to private corporations is too costly and “may not be worth it.”

Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners (ET), was worth more than $4 billion in 2019 and has donated over $1 million to Trump’s campaign entities since 2016. In addition to reviving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which Trump previously had a financial stake in that he has since divested, the administration’s rollbacks of environmental protections and enforcement have been a boon for the corporation. Warren is also poised to be granted a major public land swap through the U.S. Forest Service. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director wrote of the land swap that  ‘the change in land ownership would also revoke protective management provisions and could result in the loss or degradation of scenic, environmental, recreational and cultural qualities (on roadless) lands.’

Despite the economic slowdown, ET’s latest press release bragged about the corporation’s financial position, claiming to have approximately $4 billion in liquidity as of March 31, 2020 and that it ‘has significant asset strength and financial flexibility to manage through the current market cycle.’ ET hardly seems to be a struggling business in need of more bailouts and favors from President Trump.

Read Western Values Project’s full research on Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren and background on the Trump administration’s SPR purchase here.

Learn more about the special interests fueling the Trump Administration at Accountable.US and their ongoing efforts to carve out more big oil and coal bailouts at, a Montana-based Accountable.US project focused on public lands conservation.


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