Oil companies have said that energy shortages are caused by a lack of refineries and have blamed excessive environmental regulation and local resistance for the problem. But newly-revealed oil industry documents obtained by Senator Ron Wyden show that five years ago, companies were looking for ways to cut refinery output so they could boost profits.

It takes about 4 years to build a large refinery, so they would have had to start building in the mid 1990s in order to avoid shortages now. But in the mid 1990s, according to the documents, oil companies had no interest in building new refineries and were even discussing the need to curtail refinery output in order to increase profits.
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