US oil refining capacity rises for second year in a row

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U.S. crude oil refining capacity rose 1.5% to 18.38 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, a government report showed on Friday as a major new expansion in Texas boosted capacity.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said the figures indicate capacity online as of Jan. 1, which reflected for the first time the startup last year of an about 250,000 bpd expansion to Exxon Mobil’s XOM.N Beaumont, Texas, refinery.

The gain was a second year in a row of increases due to expansions at existing operations. Still, processing capacity at the start of 2024 remained more than 500,000 bpd below the 2019 peak of 18.98 million bpd, which came before a wave of plant closures and conversions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Refiners process crude oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other products.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. remained the largest refiner in the United States, able to process up to 2.95 million bpd, or 16% of the country’s total, at its 13 U.S. plants, the EIA report showed.

Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) was the second-largest U.S. refiner by volume with its 2.21 million bpd capacity equal to about 12% of the total.

Exxon was third largest with nearly 1.95 million bpd after a $2 billion expansion to its Beaumont refinery came online in spring, 2023, raising that facility’s processing capacity to 609,000 bpd.

The fourth largest refiner, Phillips 66, can process 1.39 million bpd while the fifth and sixth largest – PBF Energy PBF.N and Chevron Corp. – can each process more than 1 million bpd.

The sixth-largest refiner, Citgo Petroleum, is facing a court-ordered auction of shares in its parent that could lead to a change in ownership before the summer ends. Court officials are reviewing multi-billion-dollar bids for the shares and have scheduled a hearing on the offer in July.

Source: Reuters