EIA Report Shows US Refinery Capacity Increase For 2014

By The Bakken magazine staff | August 15, 2014

Even though the number of U.S. refineries is down from a year ago, refining capacity took a slight upturn in 2014.

An annual survey of refinery ownership and capacity by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that the U.S. had 142 refineries at the beginning of this year with a total refining capacity of 17.9 million barrels per day. That’s one fewer refinery compared to the start of 2013, but a capacity increase of 101,000 barrels per day.

Increased crude production in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in South Texas has spurred the construction of two new refineries expected to come on line by the end of the year.

Dakota Prairie Refining LLC should begin operations at the 20,000-barrels-per-stream-day (bbl/sd) refinery at Dickinson, N.D., in December. Kinder Morgan plans to start up a 50,000-bbl/sd initial phase of a condensate processing facility on the Houston Ship Channel in November. These will be the first two new refineries built in the United States since 2008.

Tesoro, which operates a refinery at Mandan, N.D., bought a 251,0000-barrels per calendar day (bbl/cd) refinery in Carson, Calif., from BP and sold its Ewa Beach, Hawaii, refinery (93,500 bbl/cd) to Par Petroleum Corp. Tesoro is now the seventh largest refiner in the United States, as measured by atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity (ACDU), and the largest refiner on the West Coast.

Valero Energy Corp. remains the largest U.S. refiner, with total ACDU capacity of more than 1.9 million bbl/cd. Exxon Mobil Corp. is second at almost 1.9 million bbl/cd. With the purchase of the Texas City refinery from BP, Marathon Petroleum Corp. became the third-largest refiner, with a capacity of 1.7 million bbl/cd.

While crude distillation capacity is one of the most widely tracked indicators of refinery size, the EIA report also tracks the capacity of secondary units. Vacuum distillation, thermal cracking, catalytic hydrocracking, catalytic reforming, hydrotreating, and deasphalting capacity all increased slightly this year, while fluid catalytic cracking capacity decreased.