Survey finds US refiners capable of processing more light, sweet crude

US refiners have more than enough capacity to process the growing volumes of light, sweet crude oil that will be produced in the next few years, a survey commissioned by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers found.

US refiners have more than enough capacity to process the growing volumes of light, sweet crude oil that will be produced in the next few years, a survey commissioned by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers found.

“With the results of today’s survey, we know without a doubt that our refiners are ready and able to process the increasing US supply of light, sweet crude,” AFPM Pres. Charles T. Drevna said as the survey’s results were released on Mar. 18.

Varis Consulting conducted the survey in November and December in which 23 companies voluntarily provided information on 69 refineries, representing 61% of total 2014 US processing capacity in 2014. The highest response came from the Gulf Coast, East Coast, and Midwest regions where much of the new production is being used, it said.

Respondents said they planned to run an additional 730,000 b/d of very light crude in 2016 than they did in 2014. With more favorable access and economics, they have the capability to run an additional 800,000 b/d of the new crude oil—for a total of 1.5 million b/d—in 2016 than what they ran in 2014, they indicated.

“Respondents will achieve their plans to increase use of this new crude production by continuing to reduce imported light and medium quality crude oils and by investing to better utilize this domestic resource,” the survey said.

It said that with nearly 40% of total US refining capacity unrepresented in the findings, total US oil industry plans to increase light crude production, as well as physical capacity to process more of it, represents even larger potential volumes.

“Inadequate delivery infrastructure has delayed US refinery access to the new production, but significant changes and expansion in this infrastructure have and will continue to occur,” the survey said.

“The domestic energy renaissance is boosting our economy and benefiting our national security and our refining industry—the world’s largest and most advanced—which is fully capable of handling this production growth,” Drevna maintained.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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