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U.S. Oil Refineries Still Down And Out After Freeze

Just seven U.S. oil refineries out of the 18 that were down due to the Texas Freeze are operating normally as of Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Those 18 refineries that were down accounted for as much as 5.5 million barrels of crude processing capacity per day.

As a result of the Texas Freeze, according to Energy Information Administration data, weekly U.S. percent utilization of refinery operable capacity dipped to 56% during the week ending February 26—the lowest operable utilization of operable capacity since the EIA began tracking the data in November 1990.

And while crude oil inventories had finally fallen to the five-year average before the Freeze, the refinery outages stopped the inventory drawdowns in their tracks, and crude oil stocks ballooned by 22 million barrels last week, according to the EIA.

But all signs point to this utilization increasing—and crude stocks decreasing.

The largest refinery in the United States, Motiva’s 607,000 bpd Port Arthur refinery, restarted its largest crude oil processing unit relatively quickly, on February 26, after being down for 11 days.

As of Sunday, ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery was set to restart its 280,300 bpd Pipestill-8 crude distillation unit, and Marathon restarted its crude distillation unit at its large Galveston Bay refinery.

On Monday, Total’s Port Arthur refinery CDU was scheduled to restart.

And more refineries are set to come online yet this week, Bloomberg reports.

Other reports suggested that Shell’s 318,000 bpd Deer Park refinery could be down until April.

The cold snap in Texas caused widespread issues for the U.S. oil industry, with power outages, frozen pipes and roads shutting in a large volume of U.S. oil and natural gas production, in addition to refinery closures that exceeded what Hurricane Harvey forced shut in 2017.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on March 08 2021 said:
    Sounds like good news for Indiana and British Petroleum then.

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