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Petroleum Report: Total Distillation Capacity Increases, Crude Spread Narrows

June 27, 2013
By: Davis Michaelsen, Pro Farmer Inputs Monitor Editor

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.

Refining Region Total Atmospheric Distillation Capacity
East Coast (PADD1)
1,293,200 bpd
Midwest (PADD2)
3,768,600 bpd
Gulf Coast (PADD3)
9,102,651 bpd
Rocky Mountain (PADD4)
629,850 bpd
West Coast (PADD5)
3,029,358 bpd
Total U.S. ADC
17,823,659 barrels per day


Crude Oil -- crprfuts6 27

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.

Fuels --

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.

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