U.S. refineries are using during record-high levels

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Gross inputs to U.S. refineries exceeded 17 million barrels per day (b/d) in any of a past 4 weeks, a turn not formerly reached given EIA began edition weekly information in 1990. The rolling four-week normal of U.S. sum refinery inputs has been above a prior five-year operation (2010-14) each week so distant this year. The record high sum inputs simulate both aloft refinery ability and aloft function rates.

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Lower wanton oil prices and clever direct for petroleum products, essentially gasoline, both in a United States and globally, have led to auspicious margins that inspire refinery investment and high refinery runs. Refinery margins are now upheld by high gasoline moment spreads that reached a rise of 66 cents per gallon (gal) on Jul 8, a turn not reached given Sep 2008.

For a past several years, essence moment spreads have consistently exceeded those for gasoline, though given May, this trend has reversed. From 2011 to 2014, essence moment spreads (calculated regulating Gulf Coast mark prices for Light Louisiana Sweet wanton oil, required gasoline, and ultra-low sulfur distillate) averaged a 24 cents/gal reward over gasoline moment spreads. Since May 20, Gulf Coast gasoline moment spreads have averaged 17 cents/gal aloft than for essence moment spreads.

Higher direct for gasoline is ancillary these margins. Total U.S. engine gasoline product granted is adult 2.9% by a initial 5 months of 2015, and trade press reports prove that direct is also aloft in vital universe markets such as Europe and India so distant this year compared with 2014. Total U.S. petroleum product granted (a substitute for demand) is adult 2.5% by a initial 5 months of a year compared with 2014. Much of a refinery outlay is reaching tellurian markets, as net exports are 19% aloft this year by May.


Favorable margins heading to high refinery runs are not singular to a Gulf Coast region. Since early April, U.S. refinery function (gross inputs divided by operable calendar day capacity) has consistently been above 90%, driven mostly by towering runs during Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries. During that time, East Coast and Rocky Mountain function has also been high, usually dipping subsequent 90% in 5 weeks and dual weeks, respectively.


Despite a ongoing random outage during ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, California, function on a West Coast exceeded 90% for a past 3 weeks, imprinting a second, third, and fourth times that all 5 regions have available refinery function rates above 90% within a same week given EIA began edition weekly function information in 2010. These high function rates, total with increasing U.S. refinery ability (18.0 million b/d as of Jan 1, 2015), have led to record high sum inputs. Monthly information on function rates go behind further, and a final time all regions exceeded 90% in a same month was in Sep 2006.

U.S. refinery runs tend to rise in a second and third buliding of a year when direct for gasoline is larger since of increasing pushing in a summer. In a Jul Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA estimates that refinery runs will normal 16.7 million b/d from Apr by Sep and afterwards decrease somewhat in a fourth entertain to 16.2 million b/d before descending serve to 15.8 million b/d in a initial entertain of 2016. Following a winter duration of reduce direct and refinery maintenance, EIA’s STEO expects U.S. refinery runs will strech new highs subsequent summer, averaging 16.9 million b/d in third entertain of 2016.

Source: EIA