1. Bomb Cyclone Disrupts US Refining
- US refinery runs averaged 14.9 million b/d according to the most recent EIA data release, indicating that the downstream sector is taking much longer to recover from the December bomb cyclone.
- As things stand currently, refinery throughputs are 1.3 million b/d lower than before the cyclone, with utilization rates only increasing to 85.3% of operable capacity.
- Perhaps worryingly, at least 15 US refiners are planning to undergo maintenance in February-May 2023, peaking next month at 1.4 million b/d of processing capacity going offline.
- Having postponed maintenance for most of 2021 and 2022 because of the unprecedentedly good margins, maintenance will be twice as heavy as usual this year.
2. The UK Windfall Tax Is Starting to Bite
- The United Kingdom’s largest oil and gas producer Harbour Energy (LON:HBR) is planning to cut jobs due to the crippling effect of the windfall tax that was hiked to 35% from January 2023 onwards.
- UK oil industry groups have warned the government that the windfall tax is jeopardizing investment into the North Sea, with both Shell and Equinor vowing to reconsider their UKCS projects.
- Meanwhile, Britain’s opposition leader Keir Starmer said that if Labour were to come to power, there would be no more investment into new oil and gas fields as there “needs to be a transition”.
- Oil companies in the UK pay 30%…