U.S. refinery capacity innovation record
The U.S. operable atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity increased by 0.9% in 2019 to a record 19 million barrels/day, an increase of 200,000 barrels/day from the previous year’s 18.8 million barrels/day. According to the annual energy refining capacity report of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the capacity of the US CDU can be increased for 7 of the past 8 years.
EIA measures refining capacity in two ways: capacity on calendar days and capacity on working days. Calendar daily capacity is the operator's estimate of the amount of input that the distillation unit can handle within 24 hours under normal operating conditions, including the impact of planned and unplanned maintenance. The daily production capacity reflects the maximum input barrels that can be processed in 24 hours without considering the downtime when the distillation equipment is operating at full load under the best crude oil and product conditions, and its capacity is usually higher than that of the calendar day6 %.
Starting in 2019, there are 135 operational refineries (including idle and operating refineries) in the United States (excluding regions). The one refinery closed in 2019 is Continental Refining Co., Ltd.'s oil refinery in Somerset, Kentucky, with a rated capacity of 5,500 barrels per day. The refinery has been in a state of shutdown since March 2018. However, Flint Hills Resources split its report on Corpus Christi's eastern and western plants to EIA, which restored EIA's calculation of the number of operational US refineries to 135.
As of January 1, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery is still within the scope of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculation, but the refinery damaged part of the refinery in a June 2019 fire The operation ceased shortly after the plant and the sale of the refinery is still pending.
As the US has increased crude oil production over the past 10 years, the average density of US crude oil has become lighter. As US refineries reduce the import volume of processed crude oil and replace imported crude oil with domestically produced crude oil, the average API gravity (a measure of crude oil density, the higher the value, the lower the density) of crude oil input into the refinery ). For example, the US Gulf Coast, which has about half of the US's refining capacity, imported only 28% of crude oil input to refineries in 2019, down from 69% in 2010.
US refineries have adapted to this changing pattern of crude oil by slightly increasing the output of petroleum products such as aviation fuel, gasoline, and distillate refined from light crude oil. They have also increased the use of downstream refinery units, which are used to process products from atmospheric crude oil distillation units into ultra-low sulfur diesel and gasoline and other products. These lighter products usually have a higher refining margin, which is a measure of the difference between the price of petroleum products and crude oil.
EIA's latest refining capacity report also includes capacity expansion plans for the remainder of 2020. According to EIA's recently updated information, the US's refining capacity will not increase significantly this year.