MOMR September 2017
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Product Markets and Refinery Operations

62

OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report – September 2017

Refinery operations

Refinery utilization in the

US

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

European

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

In

Asia

, 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.

70

80

90

100

70

80

90

100

Aug 16

Sep 16

Oct 16

Nov 16

Dec 16

Jan 17

Feb 17

Mar 17

Apr 17

May 17

Jun 17

Jul 17

Aug 17

%

%

US

EU-16

Japan

Singapore

Sources: Argus Media and OPEC Secretariat.