US refiners facing tough times for another year

US refiners have weathered choppy seas this year—and it doesn't look like smooth sailing ahead for quite a while.The odds are that refining margins will continue to remain under pressure for some months to come—perhaps not seeing relief until the start of next year's summer driving season.Overall product stocks in the US have finally begun to slip back to historical normal levels after an aggressive round of run cuts by refiners, noted Lehman Bros. analyst Paul Cheng in a Sept. 23 research note.He contends that, with the likelihood of Iraq-centered tensions in oil markets continuing, "Urefiners' profitability will likely continue to be hurt over the next 2-3 qu...

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