Product Markets and Refinery Operations
OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report – September 2017
Refinery utilization in the
recorded historical levels in August, despite plummeting towards the end of the
month as Hurricane Harvey started to make landfall, shutting down considerable refining capacity and
pipelines on the US Gulf Coast. Refinery utilization averaged around 95.2%, equivalent to 17.58 mb/d, which
was around 0.32 mb/d higher than a month earlier. On a y-o-y basis, refinery throughput rose by 0.89 mb/d.
During the last week of August, large capacity reductions were witnessed due to Tropical Storm Harvey.
Some estimations indicate as much as 4 mb/d of refining capacity was either completely or partially shut-in
as a result of the storm. ExxonMobil- Baytown and Beaumont refineries (with total capacity exceeding
0.9 mb/d) were reported to be fully shut. Shell, Deer Park refinery (0.3 mb/d refining capacity), Valero,
Corpus Christi (0.3 mb/d of refining capacity), Phillips 66 and Sweeny (0.24 mb/d refining capacity) are
examples of other refineries which completely shut down facilities. Meanwhile, Motive, Port Arthur, (0.6 mb/d
of refining capacity), Lyondell, Houston (0.6 mb/d of refining capacity) and Flint Hills, Corpus Christi
(0.23 mb/d of refining capacity) were reported to have partially shut operations.
Based on preliminary estimates for
refineries, average runs recorded around 93.8% of capacity in
August, supported by healthy refining margins. This corresponds to a throughput of 10.9 mb/d, which was
0.25 mb/d higher than in the previous month. Runs were higher in France by 40 tb/d m-o-m and in Italy by
55 tb/d m-o-m, while in Germany they were down by 52 tb/d m-o-m. The current calculations for refinery
turnaround in August indicate similar offline capacity to July levels of around 0.45 mb/d of closed capacity.
This is foreseen to rise to 0.73 mb/d in September. So far, 3Q17 planned turnarounds are expected to
average 0.54 mb/d, lower by 0.24 mb/d from 2Q17 amid healthy refinery margins in the region.
Graph 6 - 2: Refinery utilisation rates
, refinery utilization rates increased for the second consecutive month, particularly in Japan as
refinery turnarounds abated. Japan’s refinery throughputs averaged 95.8% of capacity, 6 pp higher than the
previous month, and refinery runs in Singapore increased to 93.9%, up 6 percentage points (pp) compared
with the previous month. Additionally, refinery runs in China and India increased by 0.16 mb/d and 29 tb/d,
respectively, in line with seasonal patterns.
Sources: Argus Media and OPEC Secretariat.