Refinery Capacity in the United States and Energy Markets

There was an extremely informative article in the April 9 edition of the Financial Times describing a precipitous decline in U.S. petroleum refining capacity and its implications for U.S. energy markets. Among the article’s take-aways:

  1. Half of the refining capacity on the U.S. East Coast is set to be shut down.
    1. Many refineries on the U.S. East Coast face ;very high costs associated with importing oil from countries e.g. Nigeria, Norway and Angola, resulting in negative margins for some refineries. While oil from domestic sources, e.g. Texas, would be far less expensive, there are no available pipelines. On the other end of the equation, refineries have suffered from weak consumption in the United States, a fact mirrored in Europe;
  2. While more than 3 million barrels of daily refinery capacity have closed in western countries in recent years, while refining capacity has increased by 4.2 million barrels per day, with an additional 1.8 million barrels per day expected this year;
  3. World demand has increased in recent years, however, buoyed primarily by rising demand in Brazil, India, China and Saudi Arabia;
  4. While U.S. crude production is at its highest level,. the U.S. market is now “really four markets when it comes to products,” with substantial exports from the Gulf of Mexico, home to 43% of U.S. refining capacity, a surplus of supplies in the inland regions of the United States, a west coast largely isolated from the rest of the country, and the East Cast increasingly relying on imported fuel;
  5. One of the most likely future incremental suppliersĀ  to the East Coast is India; however, longer supply chains could result in heightened price volatility.

This article could stimulate some good class discussion, including whether the U.S. should aggressively seek to expand pipelines between oil-rich domestic regions and East Coast refineries, as well as whether there any longer is any validity to the argument that U.S. environmental laws has interfered with the development of refinery facilities, resulting in increased prices to U.S. consumers.

 

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One thought on “Refinery Capacity in the United States and Energy Markets

  1. Younger students will get education on sustainability and climate considerations but if their parents are not taught and it doesn't quickly become part of our economic model, no matter what the children are taught, it become past the point of return. We have created a society where we are way to "me" oriented and this must change. Entrepreneurship mindsets need to embrace climate issues. Our country was built on these ideals. Other countries are way ahead of us in being receptive to water and waste issues. There is SO MANY $$'s in creating new businesses in these arenas. This has nothing to do with politics. It means survival. It means overhauling an economic system that is collapsing around the world, for the most part, and rethinking priorities. There is such opportunity in incorporating sustainability principles and having a true understanding of why carbon emissions affect the climate and inserting this into our lifestyles and economic models, it is to me, alarming that people do not see this. If we do not educate the adults, and make these topics as important as ALL that is required for employees and management to report on for transparency, I fear all of those who have shared in this discussion will not be heard. The knowledge here is over the top. It doesn't get any better than this. But we need this to get this to adult sectors who are in a position to plan for sustainability and to their employees and management in all departments. NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT ISO OR GRI except us! Wells Fargo and Starbucks build and renovate up to LEED standards but their employees don't ever know what that is and how NOT building or renovating with sustainability at its core thought process affects the environment. Wells Fargo loan officers and underwriters and employees don't even know there are provisions in loan products for energy efficient upgrades. PACE.NOW is not being supported which is absurd.
    Does anyone get this yet? There is such a lack of education. We need to make it mandatory that all get this education for license renewals in all professional disciplines. If CEO's and CFO's understood these points, change could possibly occur. but we need to scale it into the employee mindset which, at the end of the day, are our consumers. If millions of adults learn about this as they had to about math, or english…then it scales…….They are not going back to the classroom. So it is up to our trade organizations who keep bugging us for dues, to give us something of substance to pay for, it is up to workforce and outreach and any company of any size, all industries and corporations to teach our wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers- I think you will all agree, they are tired of hearing it from us.

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