U.S. Energy Information Administration logo

Petroleum & Other Liquids

Planned Refinery Outages in the United States:
December 2017 – June 2018

Release date: February 22, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) latest analysis of planned refinery outages for the period from December 2017 through June 2018 finds that such outages are not expected to cause a shortfall in the supply of petroleum products—including gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel—relative to expected demand, either nationally or within any U.S. region. EIA has reached this conclusion notwithstanding the current high level of U.S. gasoline demand, which in 2017 was close to the record high seen in 2016.

EIA’s national and regional conclusions are the result of simulating regional monthly supply based on a set of assumptions about refinery operations. The report considers planned shutdowns of refinery units as reported by Industrial Info Resources (IIR) and provides EIA's analysis of the implications of outages affecting atmospheric crude distillation units (ACDU), fluidized catalytic cracking units (FCCU), catalytic reforming units (CRU), hydrocracking units (HU), and coking units (CU).

Regional supply and demand balances are more valuable than national balances because pipeline infrastructure, geography, and marine shipping regulations constrain the amount of product that can flow between regions in the United States. Barring unusually high unplanned outages, planned outages that extend beyond schedule, or higher-than-expected demand, the supply of gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel is expected to be adequate in all regions through June 2018.

Planned refinery maintenance in the East Coast is expected to be moderate from December 2017 through June 2018, except for outages due to maintenance on fluidized catalytic cracking capacity in February, which exceed the previous 10-year maximum. Planned maintenance for crude distillation capacity is expected to be moderate, reaching a peak average of 193,000 barrels per day (b/d) in April, or 14% of regional capacity. There are no announced plans for maintenance on hydrocracking and coking units, and reforming capacity maintenance is lower than the previous year and previous 10-year average. Production losses associated with planned maintenance could be offset by movements from other regions, imports, and by drawing down inventories.

Planned outages in the Midwest region for December 2017 through June 2018 are close to or higher than the previous 10-year average, and are concentrated in March and April. Nevertheless, EIA expects supply of petroleum products to be adequate to meet domestic demand in the Midwest during the first half of 2018. Production losses from planned outages in the Midwest in March and April are estimated to average 333,000 b/d and 216,000 b/d in gasoline, 77,000 b/d and 46,000 b/d in jet fuel, and 155,000 b/d and 110,000 b/d in distillate fuel, respectively.

Planned outages in the Gulf Coast region from December 2017 through June 2018 are moderate, and regional inventories appear to be sufficient to offset lost production from those planned outages. More than half of the refining capacity in the United States is located in the Gulf Coast region1, and, as a result, produces far more petroleum products than it consumes. The region’s surplus production supplies other U.S. regions, mainly the East Coast and the Midwest, as well as international markets. EIA’s calculations indicate that planned refinery outages in the Gulf Coast are expected to result in light production losses in petroleum products. Planned outages are expected to peak in February, with expected average losses of 222,000 b/d in gasoline and 195,000 b/d in distillate fuel. From December 2017 through June 2018, total estimated production loss as a result of the planned outages accounts for 28.8% of existing gasoline inventory, 40.0% of jet fuel inventory, and 55.5% of existing distillate inventory. Regional inventories will likely be sufficient to make up for lost in-region production. Gulf Coast refinery operations were significantly disrupted in September 2017 following Hurricane Harvey and this led to some changes for planned maintenance.

Planned refinery maintenance for the Rocky Mountain region is expected to be moderate from December 2017 through June 2018. Because oil consumption in the Rocky Mountain region is low compared with other parts of the country and inventories of petroleum products are above or close to the 10-year average, the planned maintenance should not affect product availability.

Planned outages in the West Coast region from December 2017 through June 2018 of atmospheric crude distillation capacity and fluidized catalytic cracking capacity are close to the 10-year average. Planned maintenance on both types of units is concentrated in January and February. Planned maintenance on reforming and coking capacity is lower than the 10-year average, and there are no announced plans for maintenance on hydrocracking capacity. The production losses from planned maintenance are expected to peak in January and February, with expected average losses of 115,000 b/d and 122,000 b/d in gasoline, 24,000 b/d and 21,000 b/d in jet fuel, and 41,000 b/d and 39,000 b/d in distillate fuel, respectively.

Although unanticipated events could result in some issues, EIA’s review found no region in which planned refinery outages are likely to lead to inadequate gasoline, distillate, or jet fuel supplies from December 2017 through June 2018.

See complete report



Footnote

1The regions used in this report are the Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADDs). See https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=4890 for a comprehensive explanation of PADDs.