President Donald Trump’s goal of making the United States a global superpower in energy is starting to come true, Marathon Petroleum Corp. Chairman and CEO Gary Heminger told CNBC on Tuesday.
“When I look at the president’s theme to begin with and the beginning of his administration, he wanted to have energy dominance in the U.S. and I believe that we are well on our way,” Heminger told Jim Cramer in an exclusive “Mad Money” interview. “We’re the largest producer in the world today.”
Recent declines in oil prices haven’t stopped U.S. producers from pumping more oil ahead of OPEC’s meetings later this week, at which the group of oil-exporting countries are expected to cut production.
That puts the United States in a league above its competitors, said the Marathon chief, whose Ohio-based company specializes in petroleum refining, marketing and transportation.
“The U.S. refining system [is] second to none of anyone in the industry, so I believe we’re well on our way now” to global energy dominance, Heminger said.
The CEO added that he expected OPEC’s meetings in Vienna, Austria this Thursday and Friday to result in “a pullback in OPEC production,” in which case “we’ll see crude prices inch up” from their current levels.
And although oil’s recent pummeling has benefited business at Marathon — where oil is part of Marathon’s cost of goods sold, so price declines translate into higher margins — Heminger said the company sees prices for the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rising significantly in 2019.
“We really believe the price is probably going to end up being … $65 to [$]70 in 2019, on an average,” he said. “I believe we’ve averaged almost $65 — about [$]64.50 — year to date in 2018, so we think we’re being conservative looking at that number for next year.”
WTI crude futures fell 0.64 percent on Tuesday to $52.61. Year to date, the commodity has lost 8.77 percent.
Shares of Marathon Petroleum shed 2 percent amid Tuesday’s marketwide meltdown, settling at $63.34.