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U.S. Refiners Benefit from Processing Broader Crude Slates

Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--By now, saying that the production of oil and natural gas from shale plays has been a "game changer" for the U.S. energy markets has become somewhat cliché. Recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, show that from January through May this year, U.S. refiners processed approximately 330,000 barrels per day of crude more than the corresponding period of 2011, an increase of 2.3%. Much of this additional processed crude is coming from shale plays such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford. These two shale plays alone are providing more than 1 million barrels per day (BBL/d) of light, sweet crude to U.S. refiners.

However, all is not equal in regard to where this increased processing of crude is occurring. Petroleum Refining in both the East Coast and West Coast regions of the U.S. is down, while that of the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Rocky Mountains regions is up significantly. The regional disparity is caused by a number of factors, including proximity to the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub, where much of the crude is caught in a bottleneck because of a lack of outward-bound transportation infrastructure, as well proximity to the import and export areas along the Gulf Coast.

The full version of this article is available in the August edition of the NavigatIIR newsletter!

According to Chris Paschall, Industrial Info's vice president for global refining research, "The Midwest and the Gulf Coast regions are the areas that are really benefitting the most from the current landscape. The Midwest has the easiest access to Bakken crude, while the import/export capabilities of Gulf Coast refiners allow them to pick and choose their feedstocks from around the world and then export product for a premium profit."

In this edition of "Navigating the Currents of Change," Paschall discusses the current and future landscape of the Petroleum Refining Industry. Click here to this edition of "Navigating the Currents of Change."

Industrial Info Resources (IIR), with global headquarters in Sugar Land, Texas, and eight offices outside of North America, is the leading provider of global market intelligence specializing in the industrial process, heavy manufacturing and energy markets. Industrial Info's quality-assurance philosophy, the Living Forward Reporting Principle™, provides up-to-the-minute intelligence on what's happening now, while constantly keeping track of future opportunities.