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Product Markets and Refinery Operations

OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report – August 2017

57

Refinery operations

Refinery utilisation in the

US

averaged around 93.5% in July, corresponding to 17.26 mb/d or around

130 tb/d higher than a month earlier. On a y-o-y basis, this translated into an increase in throughput by

around 0.56 mb/d, primarily as a result of higher demand for gasoline and middle distillates in 2Q17 and

higher import requirements from Latin America, despite higher m-o-m feedstock prices. The traditional

slowdown in maintenance activities in 3Q16 was also evident in July’s refinery maintenance data. Refinery

turnaround volumes shrank to around 243 tb/d in July, some 380 tb/d lower than the previous month’s

recorded level, and are expected to decrease further in August 2017.

Preliminary estimates for

Europe

show that average refinery runs recorded 91.6% of capacity in July,

corresponding to a throughput of 10.6 mb/d, which was 150 tb/d higher than in the previous month. Since

April, runs have been increasing in Europe as refineries complete their maintenance programmes and ramp-

up operations. July saw a sharp decline in maintenance activities m-o-m from 805 tb/d in June 2017 to 340

tb/d in July. This despite some shut-in production towards the end of the month as Hellenic’s 100 tb/d Elefsis

refinery in Greece extended its maintenance programme, Portugal’s 220-tb/d Porto refinery reduced

production due to a workers’ strike and a fire shut in production at Shell’s 410 tb/d Pernis refinery.

Graph 6 - 2: Refinery utilisation rates

In

Asia

, refinery utilization rates increased sharply, especially in Japan, following the end of the maintenance

season. Refinery runs in Singapore for June averaged around 89.5%, up 4 percentage points (pp) compared

with the previous month. Meanwhile, Japanese throughputs averaged 89.9% of capacity, 9.3 pp higher than

the previous month, as some refineries returned from maintenance. However, refinery runs in China declined

by 260 tb/d in July in line with seasonal patterns after reaching a record level of around 11.2 mb/d in June.

Throughput is significantly higher y-o-y, up by as much as 270 tb/d.

70

80

90

100

70

80

90

100

Jul 16

Aug 16

Sep 16

Oct 16

Nov 16

Dec 16

Jan 17

Feb 17

Mar 17

Apr 17

May 17

Jun 17

Jul 17

%

%

US

EU-16

Japan

Singapore

Sources: Argus Media and OPEC Secretariat.