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EIA: US Refining Capacity Sinks To Near Decade Low

Operable refining capacity in the United States hit a nearly decade low in 2022, the EIA’s latest Refining Capacity Report showed on Tuesday.

U.S. refining capacity fell this year to 17.94 million barrels per day as of January 1, according to the latest EIA data—down from 18.09 million bpd on January 1 last year. U.S. refining capacity is now the lowest it’s been since 2014.

The total number of operable refineries rose to 130, up from 129 last year, with the number of operating refineries increasing by 1 to 125.

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Compared to operable U.S. refining capacity as of January 1, 2020, this year’s refining capacity has decreased by more than a million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.3 million bpd during the week ending June 10, according to the EIA’s Petroleum Status Report published last Wednesday—that’s a decrease of 67,000 bpd over the previous week—running at 93.7% of operable capacity.

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The United States has more refining capacity than any other country, although China’s refining capacity could overtake the United States’ yet this year—in fact, it may have already overtaken the United States.

Gasoline prices in the United States began ticking up in 2021, and with high refining utilization rates and low crude product inventories, the refining segment has been fingered as one of the biggest price culprits.

Chevron’s CEO Mike Worth said earlier this month that he doesn’t see any relief to the refining capacity issue in sight, even going so far as to suggest that the United States may not see any new refineries built, ever, given their long lead times and lengthy ROI combined with the uncertainty of the future of fossil fuels in general given climate concerns.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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