Petroleum & Other Liquids

Refinery Outages: Fall 2016

Release date: November 16, 2016

This report examines U.S. refinery outages planned for September 2016 through December 2016 and the implications for available refinery production capacity, petroleum product markets, and the supply of gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel. Dissemination of such analyses can be beneficial to market participants who may otherwise be unable to access such information.

Planned refinery outages during the fall 2016 maintenance season (September through December) are not expected to adversely affect the supply of gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel. The effect of refinery outages on product supplies depends on many factors, including petroleum product demand, the availability of product supplies from available refinery capacity, inventories, imports and redirected exports, as well as actual levels of both planned and unplanned refinery outages. Barring unusually high unplanned outages, planned outages that extend beyond the planned period, or higher-than-expected demand, the supply of gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel should be adequate in all regions in 2016.

Fall planned maintenance along the East Coast (PADD 1) is expected to be very light for atmospheric crude distillation, fluidized catalytic cracking, and reforming capacity. The planned outages will result in estimated production loss in gasoline of 21,000 b/d and 44,000 b/d in September and October, respectively, and production loss in distillate fuel of 6,000 b/d and 11,000 b/d during the same periods. Planned outages are also expected to reduce gasoline supplies by 12,000 b/d in November. There are no outages planned for December. Total estimated production losses resulting from the expected outages account for only 3.5% of existing gasoline inventories and 1.0% of distillate inventories as of August 26, 2016. Therefore, the production loss in PADD 1 could be covered by existing product inventory.

Planned maintenance in the Midwest (PADD 2) is concentrated in September and October, though atmospheric crude distillation unit outages peak at 5% of supply, less than the historic average and only one-fourth of high 2015 maintenance levels. Planned maintenance of fluidized catalyst cracking capacity will be above the 10-year average from September through November, with 11% and 16% of capacity offline in September and October respectively, compared with an historical average of 5% and 10% during those months. The outages will result in moderate production loss of petroleum products, peaking at 130,000 b/d in October, including 65,000 b/d of gasoline, 43,000 b/d of diesel fuel, and 22,000 b/d of jet fuel. The total estimated production losses in gasoline, distillate fuel, and jet fuel account for 8%, 9%, and 20% of existing regional inventories as of August 26. Nevertheless, regional inventories will likely be sufficient to make up for lost in-region production and significant supplies are available in other regions, such as the Gulf Coast, to offset production shortfalls from planned outages as conditions warrant.

Planned maintenance along the Gulf Coast (PADD 3) of fluidized catalytic cracking, reforming, hydrocracking, and coking units is above average this Fall, while planned atmospheric crude distillation unit maintenance is near or below the 10-year average. The outages will result in moderate production loss in petroleum products. During September and October, the expected average losses are 127,000 b/d in gasoline, 33,000 b/d in jet fuel, and 91,000 b/d in distillate fuel. As of August 26, Gulf Coast gasoline inventories are at their highest point in more than 10 years, and jet fuel and distillate fuel inventories are above the 10-year average. The total estimated production loss as a result of the planned outages accounts for 10% of existing gasoline inventories, 14% of jet fuel inventories, and 15% of distillate inventories. As a result, regional stocks are sufficient to offset lost production from the planned outages.

Planned outages in the Rocky Mountain region (PADD 4) this fall are limited to only fluidized catalytic cracking units during October and November, when 28,000 b/d (14% of regional capacity) and 6,000 b/d (3% of regional capacity) will be offline, respectively. During peak planned outages in October, maintenance is expected to reduce gasoline production by 21,000 b/d, jet fuel by 5,000 b/d, and distillate by more than 4,000 b/d. Total estimated production losses from planned outages in PADD 4 in October and November account for 12% of regional gasoline inventories, 26% of jet fuel inventories, and 5% of distillate inventories. Although October fluidized catalytic cracking maintenance is above average, the limited nature of maintenance, adequate product inventory levels that are close to the 10-year average, seasonally lower consumption, and above average inventories in neighboring regions should ensure that supplies are sufficient to offset planned production outages.

Along the West Coast (PADD 5), planned outages between October and November will be elevated compared with the 10-year average, and there is no maintenance planned for September or December. Maintenance is concentrated among atmospheric crude distillation units, with outages averaging 423,000 b/d (15% of regional capacity) in October and November, sharply higher than the 10-year average of 78,000 b/d (3% of regional capacity). Coking maintenance averages 50,000 b/d (9% of regional capacity) in October and November, above the 10-year average of 19,000 b/d (4%). Below average reforming maintenance only occurs in October, and there is no planned maintenance for fluidized catalytic cracking and hydrocracking units.

To mitigate the impact of higher-than-normal atmospheric crude distillation unit maintenance on downstream refinery units, refiners purchase gas oil from international and regional markets. As a result, the impact of planned maintenance on refinery production in PADD 5 is relatively reduced, averaging 117,000 b/d in October and November, including 31,000 b/d of gasoline, 64,000 b/d of jet fuel, and 41,000 b/d of distillate fuel. The total estimated reduction of petroleum products induced by the outages accounts for 4% of the existing gasoline inventory, 39% of jet fuel inventory, 16% of distillate fuel inventory. Overall, regional product inventories—supplemented with jet fuel imports—are sufficient to make up for the production loss from planned outages.

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