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Product Markets and Refinery Operations

OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report – August 2017


Refinery operations

Refinery utilisation in the


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


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



, 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.









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







Sources: Argus Media and OPEC Secretariat.