April 2015

Regional Report

US petrochemical construction boom and refining margins cushion profits

Domestic refiners and petrochemical producers will face changing supply and demand conditions, particularly as the sharp decrease in oil prices influences drilling decisions.

Blume, Adrienne, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

  BP’s Whiting refinery modernization project, Whiting, Indiana (left);   and the Enterprise PDH project, Mont Belvieu, Texas (right). The network of US refineries has declined from a record of over 300 refining complexes in the mid-1980s to just 143 refineries, with 139 operating in 2014. The rationalized capacities were small refineries with throughputs of less than 100 Mbpd. Over the past decades, niche refineries were squeezed out due to environmental rules on emissions and clean fuel specifications, as well as to economic difficulties. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of late February, US refineries were processing an avera

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