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2013 US refined product export figures

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

An analyst with GlobalData has said that despite the decline in US domestic product demand, the country’s refining utilisation levels have increased significantly in the last few years, as foreign requests for US products have grown by approximately 70% since 2009. Carmine Rositano, Global Data Managing Analyst, Downstream Oil and Gas has said that US refining utilisation averaged 83% in 2009, increasing to approximately 89% in 2013. A 1% growth translates in to 175 000 bpd, meaning that America’s 6% increase in refining utilisation results in 1 million bpd of higher refining runs.

Rositano said, ‘since there is minimal, if any, increase in US oil demand expected over the next few years, keeping product export levels high and maintaining growth is key to the financial health of America’s refining industry.’

South America

South America is currently one of the main importers of the country’s gasoline and diesel, as the growth in product demand has significantly outpaced product supply increases.

Rositano commented, ‘the closure of both the Aruba and Hovensa refineries in South America, combined with a lack of major refinery expansions and the persistent refining reliability issues, have all played a role in reducing product supply availability in the region.’

Europe and Asia

Gulf Coast refining is also seeing demand from European countries for ultra low sulfur diesel, which is in a structural product deficit position in the region. Additionally, the US is exporting high volumes of propane and propylene to Asian countries.

It is possible that with refining utilisation at high levels, the ability to continue increasing product export levels from the US will be based on planned new capacity additions, for condensate splitters and crude distillation units (CDU).

Rositano concluded, ‘while this will increase product volumes available for exports, competition from other supply sources based on CDU additions in Asia and the Middle East, as well as upgrade units around the world, will determine the profitability and viability to export.’

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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