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US refinery capacity increases in 2013

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that, as of 1st January 2013, the US had 143 operable refineries. Total atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity of these refineries was 17.8 million bpd, demonstrating an increase of 0.5 million bpd since 1st January 2012.

Capacity expansion is due almost entirely to Motiva Enterprises’ expansion of its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery and the restart of the Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery owned by Monroe Energy, a subsidiary of Delta Airlines.

Motiva’s Port Arthur refinery, which has 600 250 bpd atmospheric crude oil (ACDU) distillation capacity, is now the largest in the US. According to the Oil and Gas Journal it is also one of the ten largest refineries in the world, in terms of crude distillation capacity.

Crude distillation capacity is one of the most widely tracked indicators of refinery size; however, the capacity of other secondary units is also important. Expansion of secondary unit capacity can follow a different pattern over time, as refiners invest in specific types of capacity needed to support changing crude and product qualities.

In 2012, vacuum distillation, thermal cracking, catalytic hydrocracking, catalytic reforming, and hydrotreating capacity all increased due to unit restarts and expansions, Meanwhile, catalytic cracking capacity was unchanged and deasphalting capacity decreased.

In 2013, secondary unit capacity expansion continues as companies work to maximise the production of ultra low sulfur diesel.

Adapted from press release by Emma McAleavey.

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