Monday, April 19, 2010

"US refiners, producers may be seeing light at tunnel’s end" (ASH; MRO: TSO; VLO)

From the Financial Times' Energy Source blog:

The news about the US refining industry has been nothing but bad for several years now. A key reason, of course, is the economic downturn, although there are others. Meanwhile talk about impending carbon legislation is not helping the modd in this carbon-intensive industry.

Yet perhaps things are turning around. The American Petroleum Institute reported on Friday that US refineries produced more gasoline this March - 9.3m barrels per day - than any previous month on record. And March gasoline deliveries ( a measure of demand) were higher at 9.2m barrels per day - than any previous March.

This sounds like good news for an industry that has been forced to reduce production and in some cases even shut down entire facilities. In the words of John Felmy, API chief economist:

US refineries are doing yeoman’s work meeting consumer demand. Moreover, the record gasoline production in March makes it abundantly clear that supply is not an issue with the higher gasoline prices we’ve seen. Sharply higher crude oil prices are driving that, and they continue to put upward pressure on the price at the pump....MORE