Phillips 66 is believed to be the first company known to use the administration’s limited Jones Act waiver.
The waiver was first approved by DHS acting secretary Elaine Duke on September 8 in response to severe disruptions in the oil supply system resulting from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is specifically tailored to the transportation of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel in hurricane-affected areas.
The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped between points in the U.S. be transported on vessels that are built in the United States and owned and crewed by American citizens. However, the temporary waiver allows oil and gas companies to use foreign-flagged vessels to move petroleum cargoes within the stated areas.
News of Phillips 66’s charter comes as U.S-flagged Jones Act tankers descend on Florida ports to relieve gasoline and diesel fuel shortages since the voluntary mass-evacuation of Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma. The shortages have been compounded by closed ports following the storm, as well as clogged roadways that led to the Florida Highway Patrol to start providing tanker truck escorts, not to mention remnant supply issues due to Hurricane Harvey in late August.