oil refiners to produce more gasoline and diesel Wednesday, warning because they are not doing so their profits have tripled as Americans struggle with record high gas prices. But the federal government that Biden heads reported that refineries are already running at capacity and face other limits following the coronavirus pandemic.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported in its June 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook: We estimate U.S. refinery inputs will average 16.7 million b/d during the second and third quarters of 2022. This average is lower than the 2019 refinery inputs average of 17.3 million b/d despite high utilization rates because of reductions in refinery capacity since early 2020. U.S. refinery capacity has fallen by almost 1.0 million b/d since early 2020 because several refineries were closed or converted. In response to these high prices, we expect that refinery utilization will reach a monthly average level of 96 percent twice this summer, near the upper limits of what refiners can consistently maintain. We expect refinery utilization to average 96 percent in June, 94 percent in July, and 96 percent in August. We estimate U.S. refinery inputs will average 16.7 million b/d during the second and third quarters of 2022. This average is lower than the 2019 refinery inputs average of 17.3 million b/d despite high utilization rates because of reductions in refinery capacity since early 2020. U.S. refinery capacity has fallen by almost 1.0 million b/d since early 2020 because several refineries were closed or converted. And media reports reflect the same reality and that it is Biden’s energy policies that have caused the domestic shortages.
The letter is unlikely to start a chain of events that would boost supplies. Refineries have gone through unprecedented, unplanned maintenance globally in the last three months and there is an extreme shortage being felt across the globe, said Claudio Galimberti, senior vice president at Rystad Energy. China’s decision to limit its exports of oil products also contributed to the problem, he said. “U.S. refiners cannot increase capacity beyond current levels,” Galimberti said. “If they could, they would have done it already.” Left-wing, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) had difficulty in its usual defense of Biden in a report aired on Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR interviewed people in the industry, including further damage down from coronavirus policies — “When demand for gasoline dried up, some refiners cut back. Denton Cinquegrana is with the Oil Price Information Service.” “When you’re losing money on doing it, what do you do? You stop making it. And that’s when you shut down refineries, which we have seen happen,” Cinquegrana said. “You’re talking about a lot of money to get these refineries that are idled up and running. And when I’m being told, five years from now, we hope you don’t exist, why should I help you?” NPR also cited a recent remark from Chevron CEO Mike Wirth. “My personal view is there will never be another refinery built in the United States,” Wirth said. Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.
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