As of January 1, 2013, the United States had 139 operating refineries and 4 idle refineries with total atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity of 17.8 million barrels per calendar day (bbl/d), an increase of 501,000 bbl/d from January 1, 2012. The increase in capacity as of January 1, 2013 versus the prior year is mostly due to Motiva's expansion of its Port Arthur, Texas refinery and the restart of the Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery formerly owned by Phillips 66 and now owned by Monroe Energy, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.
The Port Arthur facility's atmospheric crude oil distillation unit capacity increased from 285,000 bbl/d at the start of 2012 to 600,250 bbl/d at the start of 2013, and is now the largest refinery in the United States. Crude distillation capacity is one of the most widely tracked indicators of refinery size. The table below lists the total atmospheric distillation capacity (ADC) of each PADD district as of January 2013 in barrels per day.
||Total Atmospheric Distillation Capacity
|East Coast (PADD1)
|Gulf Coast (PADD3)
|Rocky Mountain (PADD4)
|West Coast (PADD5)
|Total U.S. ADC
17,823,659 barrels per day
Crude Oil --
August 2013 WTI crude oil futures opened today at $95.52 after topping dangerously close to 100 last week at $99.21. Downtrending support lies at $92.67 and a violation of that level would open downside risk to $91.50. Bulls' next target would be last week's high just shy of psychological $100.00. A run up to that level would suggest upside potential to May 2012's high of $106.43.
August 13 Brent crude oil futures opened today at $101.82 after testing a $90 handle on Monday. Currently the contract is moving sideways, and we expect the news of increased refining capacity in the U.S. to hold the contract at or near its current levels. Key resistance lies at $103. A violation of that would signal upside potential to $107. Support is strong at psychological $100 and a move below that would signal a very bearish track for Brent. We do not see much more downside room here but expect the contract to remain below $110 for the week.
Presently the WTI/Brent Crude spread is at $6.28.
According to EIA, The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased five cents to $3.58 per gallon as of June 24, 2013, up 14 cents from last year at this time. The Midwest price dropped 19 cents from last week to $3.55 per gallon, down 32 cents over the last two weeks. Other regions of the nation noted mild declines with the exception of a 6 cent uptick on the West Coast.
The national average diesel fuel price The national average diesel fuel price decreased less than one cent to remain at $3.84 per gallon, 16 cents higher than last year at this time, but the lowest price since July 30, 2012.
Farm Diesel moved 2 cents lower according to Inputs Monitor data to a regional average of $3.41/gallon. The highest price was recorded in the state of North Dakota at $3.56 while Nebraska captured the regionwide low at $3.27.
It may seem contradictory that North Dakota, the epicentre of the shale boom, would have the most expensive farm diesel in the region. This is because refining capacity of light sweet crudes from the N.D. shale has yet to catch up with crude production. As a result, light sweet crudes are often shipped to Canada, refined into fuel and shipped back, adding expense. As light sweet crude refining capacity increases, prices near those operations should soften considerably.
Total U.S. inventories of propane increased 1.7 million barrels from last week to end at 54.8 million barrels, but are 6.5 million barrels (10.6 percent) lower than the same period a year ago. The Gulf Coast region led the gain with 1.3 million barrels, while Midwest and East Coast stocks each increased by 0.2 million barrels.
Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 5.6 percent of total propane inventories.
LP moved 2 cents lower in the Inputs Monitor Index to $1.415.
The national distillate supply improved 1.6 million barrels to 123.2 -- 4.3 million barrels above year-ago.