2 Table of Contents PREVIEW Overview...4 Crude Oil Supply...10 Crude Oil Demand...17 International Crude Oil Markets...26 Financial Markets and Crude Oil Prices...31 Summary...35 Glossary...36 References...39
3 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 4 Overview The Changing Landscape of North American Oil Markets After decades of decline, crude oil production in the United States has recently been increasing rapidly 1. Horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing are now utilized to access oil and natural gas resources from shale rock formations that were previously either technically impossible or uneconomic to produce. Production from the oil sands in Western Canada has also risen significantly. In aggregate, production in North America has grown from 7.5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 11.0 million barrels per day in 2013, an increase of over 45% in a five year period (see Figure 1). These new supplies, which are available to meet U.S. domestic petroleum product demand, have substantially reduced U.S. dependence upon crude oil imports from overseas. Continued efficient development of domestic resources promises even greater improvement in the domestic supply-demand balance. The beneficial growth in North American crude production has not come without growing pains. Much of the new production in the U.S. is not located where it can be handled by the current pipeline network, and the growth in Canadian production has simply overwhelmed existing pipeline capacity. As a result, some oil pipelines in the U.S. U.S. and Canadian Oil Production (million barrels per day) % GROWTH Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) TOTAL U.S. AND CANADIAN CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION, (million barrels per day) Source: EIA and NEB. Notes: Historical U.S. data is the average of U.S. Weekly Supply Estimates. Canadian crude oil figures are annual averages U.S. production data is from the crude oil production numbers in the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook, January Canadian production is from the NEB estimated production for United States Canada
4 5 have reversed flow and/or expanded to accommodate the production growth and allow additional flows of oil. Several new pipelines are also being proposed in the U.S. to allow increasing oil production to reach refining centers and in Canada to move new supplies to export markets. Increasing volumes of oil are being transported by rail or barge in response to the slow development of new oil pipeline capacity. Another problem is that U.S. production is not of the type that many domestic refineries are designed to process efficiently. This mismatch necessitates movement of crude oil over longer distances to deliver it to refineries for which it is suited, potentially lifting U.S. restrictions on crude oil exports, or some combination of such measures. Thus, processing and transportation constraints have become significant issues confronting North American oil markets. Left unresolved, these constraints may limit North America s ability to take full advantage of its new crude oil resources. From 2003 through 2007 crude oil prices more than doubled from their historical level due to strong demand increases from China and India. Then in 2008, prices doubled again before falling precipitously along with worldwide economic activity. Since then, crude oil prices have climbed steadily to about three times where they started in 2003, as seen in Figure 2, which plots spot prices for U.S. and European benchmark crudes, respectively West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent. While the domestic crude oil supply situation has improved, domestic prices of petroleum products remain linked to supply and demand conditions in the global market for crude. The large swings consumers have seen over the last decade in the prices of gasoline, heating oil, and other petroleum products were driven by large movements in prices established in international crude oil markets WTI AND BRENT SPOT PRICES (dollars per barrel) Cushing, OK WTI Spot Price Europe Brent Spot Price 0 Jan-2003 Jan-2005 Jan-2007 Jan-2009 Jan-2011 Jan-2013 Source: EIA
5 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 6 Facts about World Oil Markets There are periods of time when the price of crude oil is relatively stable and other periods when the price can become volatile, changing quickly and by a significant amount. What are the main determinants of the price of crude oil, and what impact has it had on the prices consumers pay for petroleum products? Let s start with a few basic facts. Rapid growth in demand in countries like China and India more than offset declines elsewhere, and by 2006 had all but eliminated spare crude production capacity. Continued growth in these regions since 2010 has also affected prices more recently. Conflict in the Middle East and Africa caused reductions in supply and uncertainty about future production. Severe worldwide recession in dramatically reduced economic activity and demand for crude oil and petroleum products, thus lowering their prices until economies began First, crude oil and petroleum products are global commodities and, as such, their prices are determined by supply and demand factors on a worldwide basis. They are shipped from many sources to many markets (see Figure 3). Second, the price of crude oil is the most significant factor determining the prices of petroleum products. Consequently, the price of gasoline is largely determined by the worldwide demand for and supply of crude oil. Third, prices reflect the interactions of many buyers and sellers, each with their own view of the demand for and supply of crude oil and petroleum products. These interactions occur both in the physical and futures markets, with the attendant prices responding quickly to both current and expected future changes in supply and demand conditions. What has happened to cause prices to vary so much? Canada Mexico United States The answer: South America Fundamental changes in actual and perceived supply and demand conditions. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2013.
6 7 to recover. Increasing crude oil prices after 2009 were also the result of production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in response to the recession and reduced demand. Increased crude production in the U.S. and Canada and infrastructure constraints that limit its efficient use continue to suppress prices for U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil relative to world oil prices (see Figure 2). MAJOR FLOWS OF CRUDE OIL AND PETROLEUM PRODUCTS 3 United Kingdom Former Soviet Union Europe North Africa China Japan Middle East Central Africa India West Africa Singapore Australia
7 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 8 Structure of the Crude Oil Market Oil is the world economy s most important source of energy and is therefore critical to economic growth. Its value is driven by demand for refined petroleum products, particularly in the transportation sector. Petroleum products power virtually all motor vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels, and trains around the globe. In total, products derived from oil, such as motor gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and heating oil, supply 33% of all the energy consumed by households, businesses, and manufacturers worldwide 2. By way of comparison, natural gas and coal supply 22% and 28%, respectively, of the world s energy needs 3. The principal activities, as illustrated in Figure 4, involved in moving crude oil from its source to the ultimate consumer are: Production, which involves finding, extracting, and transporting crude oil; Refining, the process by which crude oil is turned into products such as gasoline; and Distribution and marketing, which focus on moving those products to final consumers. These activities occur within a global marketplace an extensive physical infrastructure that connects buyers and sellers worldwide, all supported by an international financial market. The physical infrastructure encompasses a vast array of capital, including drilling rigs, pipelines, ports, tankers, barges, trucks, crude oil storage facilities, refineries, product terminals right down to retail storage tanks and gasoline pumps. The physical infrastructure links an international network of thousands of producers, refiners, marketers, brokers, traders, and consumers buying and selling physical volumes of crude oil and Wellhead Producers Rail Terminal/Storage/ Hub Location Ship/Barge Platform Producers Pipeline
8 9 petroleum products throughout this chain of production. The international market responds to shifts in crude oil production and consumer demand in differing geographic areas. Activities in the physical markets are supported by futures and other financial contracts that allow buyers and sellers to efficiently insure themselves against significant price and other business risks, thereby minimizing the impact of price volatility on their operations. In sum, the global oil market comprises thousands of participants who help facilitate the movement of oil from where it is produced, to where it is refined into products, and from there to where those products are ultimately sold to consumers. The following sections discuss the role of each of these different activities, focusing on how they have both affected and been affected by recent changes in oil and petroleum product supply and prices. This includes the physical segments of the industry (i.e., production, refining, and distribution) as well as the financial sector, where the knowledge and expectations of thousands of buyers and sellers interact and where prices for current and future deliveries of oil are ultimately formed. THE OIL SUPPLY CHAIN 4 Refineries Bulk Terminal Storage Gas Stations
9 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 10 Crude Oil Supply Growing Oil Production in North America Since 2008, U.S. oil production has grown by over 50%. The recent increases in U.S. oil production have largely come from unconventional shale and tight oil resources, which have become more accessible and economic due to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques. Figure 5 shows the substantial growth in U.S. shale and tight oil production, from less than 0.4 million barrels per day in 2007 to more than 3.2 million barrels per day recently. The largest shale and tight oil production is from the Eagle Ford (Texas), Bakken (Montana and North Dakota) and Permian (West Texas) shale formations. U.S. Oil Production (million barrels per day) >50% GROWTH Source: EIA 3.5 SHALE AND TIGHT OIL PRODUCTION (million barrels per day) All Other Regions Permian (TX) Eagle Ford (TX) Bakken (MT & ND) Jan-03 Apr-03 Jul-03 Oct-03 Jan-04 Apr-04 Jul-04 Oct-04 Jan-05 Apr-05 Jul-05 Oct-05 Jan-06 Apr-06 Jul-06 Oct-06 Jan-07 Apr-07 Jul-07 Oct-07 Jan-08 Apr-08 Jul-08 Oct-08 Jan-09 Apr-09 Jul-09 Oct-09 Jan-10 Apr-10 Jul-10 Oct-10 Jan-11 Apr-11 Jul-11 Oct-11 Jan-12 Apr-12 Jul-12 Oct-12 Jan-13 Apr-13 Jul-13 Oct-13 Source: EIA
10 11 Canadian oil production has also increased substantially in the past few years. Figure 6 shows the substantial growth in Canadian oil production, from 2.9 million barrels per day in 2007 to nearly 3.7 million barrels per day in The majority of the increase has been heavy oil production from the oil sands in Alberta, in which bitumen is extracted through surface mining or in situ processes. Growing production in North America has resulted in declining imports of oil from overseas sources. U.S. net imports of crude oil declined from 10.0 million barrels per day in 2007 to fewer than 8.0 million barrels per day recently (see Figure 7). The largest declines have been in imports from OPEC countries, but there have also been declines in imports from non-opec countries. Production in the U.S. and Canada is forecast to continue to increase in the coming years 4 leading to expectations of a continued decline in U.S. imports of crude oil, to less than 6 million barrels per day in the latter half of the decade. CANADIAN OIL SANDS The oil sands located primarily in the western Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan represent the vast majority of Canada s crude oil reserves. Extra heavy crude oil, termed bitumen, is produced from the oil sands using differing techniques such as surface mining or in situ techniques utilizing steam to heat deposits depending on their depth. The bitumen is highly viscous after initial production and requires dilution or blending with lighter hydrocarbons for transportation by pipeline. As discussed elsewhere in this report, refinery capacity in the U.S., particularly in the Gulf Coast area, is configured to process large quantities of heavy crude. Production from Canadian oil sands is expected to increase from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2012 to 3.2 million barrels per day in 2020, and then to 5.5 million barrels per day by Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Crude Oil Forecast, Markets & Transportation, June CANADIAN CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION BY TYPE (million barrels per day) HEAVY LIGHT Source: NEB 2013 Crude Oil Production forecast. Heavy production includes crude oil production from In-Stu Bitumen and Mined Bitumen. Light production includes production of Condensates.
11 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 12 U.S. CRUDE OIL NET IMPORTS (million barrels per day) OPEC Other Non-OPEC 7 Canada Total Net Imports 12 Historical Projections Source: EIA. Historical data ( ) taken from EIA database on U.S. Crude Oil Imports by Country. Forecast Data ( ) from EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release.
12 13 THE TYPE OF CRUDE AFFECTS THE PRICE Crude oils have various attributes that make them more or less attractive to refiners. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. marker crude traded at Cushing Oklahoma, for example, is quite different than Western Canadian Select (WCS) produced and traded in Alberta. Crude oil that is less viscous and flows more easily, is referred to as light, while more viscous crudes that may require heating or diluent to flow are considered heavy. In general, light crudes require less processing at a refinery to produce a more valuable mix of finished products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Without more intensive processing (and associated investment in complex refining capacity) heavier crudes tend to produce proportionally higher quantities of less valuable products such as residual fuel oil and asphalt. Similarly, certain impurities in crudes make them much more difficult to process effectively into refined products that meet current standards. Sulfur is a common impurity in crude oil that must be removed from most transportation fuels to meet ever more stringent air quality requirements. Crudes with a low level of sulfur are designated sweet, while those with a high level are called sour. Because of the need for much more complex processing, heavy, sour crude oil typically sells at a lower price than light, sweet crude. The economics of a refinery depend upon the mix of crudes processed (crude slate), the complexity of the refinery processing units, and the desired output mix of finished products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, residual fuel, and asphalt (product slate). While a refinery can handle some variance in its crude slate, the combination of refining units installed limits the degree to which the properties of the slates can change and still efficiently be converted into a particular mix of finished products. For example, numerous U.S. refineries have invested in complex refinery units to process slates consisting primarily of heavy, sour crudes efficiently into gasoline, diesel jet fuel and other high valued products. Adding light, sweet crudes to the input slates for such refineries increases their crude oil input costs, but does not necessarily provide a significant enough improvement in valuable product yields to be profitable.
13 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 14 Oil Transportation Infrastructure: A critical part of the supply chain An important part of the supply chain is the system of pipelines, railways, barges, tankers, and trucks that deliver crude oil to refineries in North America. Oil pipelines are particularly important in that they deliver the vast majority of domestic crude oil supplies to U.S. refineries. However, oil pipeline development in North America has not kept pace with the substantial growth in crude oil production. The resulting bottlenecks prevent efficient transportation of oil from production areas to consuming markets. Pro-rationing (apportionment) has been necessary on some pipelines because shipper requests for transportation have exceeded the capacity of the pipelines. Thus, local production that should be reaching U.S. refineries to displace overseas imports is not doing so to the extent of its potential. Bottlenecks on the oil pipeline system have also depressed crude oil prices in North America relative to prices in world markets. This can be seen in a comparison of prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark crude to those of the European benchmark, Brent. The WTI price historically tracked the price of Brent, but in early 2011 WTI prices declined substantially relative to Brent as seen in Figure 2. Figure 8 provides more detail on the price differentials that have recently developed between Brent and North American benchmarks due to production stranded by transportation constraints. Since late 2010 WTI prices have fallen from parity with Brent to a persistent discount in the $10 to $25 per barrel range (see Figure 8). Likewise, prices for light, sweet crude oil produced from the Bakken shale in North Dakota have declined relative to Brent as a result of takeaway pipeline capacity constraints. Indeed, Bakken crude has sometimes traded at lower prices than WTI. Very recently the prices for Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS) (a crude oil produced along the U.S. Gulf Coast) have also fallen below Brent prices, indicating that the Gulf Coast has become over-supplied with light crude oil relative to refinery demand. These price relationships are dynamic and will likely change as takeaway capacity and production changes. The largest discounts relative to Brent shown in Figure 8 are for Western Canadian Select (WCS), which is a heavy crude oil stream consisting of conventional crude oil and bitumen delivered to the Hardisty terminal in Alberta. The growth in the discounts for WCS from about $10 (which is to be expected due to its low API gravity) to $50 per barrel or more reflects constraints in oil pipeline capacity necessary to move it out of Alberta to refining centers. Pipeline development has simply not kept pace with production. AVERAGE MONTHLY CRUDE OIL PRICE DIFFERENTIALS TO BRENT (alternative less Brent) (dollars per barrel) 8 LLS WCS WTI Bakken Jan-06 Jul-07 Jan-08 Jul-08 Jan-09 Jul-09 Jan-10 Jul-10 Jan-11 Jul-11 Jan-12 Jul-12 Jan-13 Jul-13 Source: EIA and Bloomberg.
14 15 The growth in North American oil production and the large locational price differentials are leading to infrastructure investments to transport these supplies to market. In the past few years, pipeline companies have built new pipelines and expanded or reconfigured existing pipelines to transport growing supplies in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian, and Western Canadian supply areas to refining markets in the United States, and many additional pipeline projects are being proposed and developed to accommodate the supply growth. has recently come on line to further alleviate these constraints and another new pipeline, Flanagan South, is also being developed along the same corridor as Spearhead to transport supplies from Chicago to Cushing. Figure 9 shows some of these pipelines that will allow additional crude oil supplies to flow to the Gulf Coast. While pipelines historically transported crude oil supplies from the Gulf Coast to northern locations (such as the Midwestern U.S.), some pipelines have recently reversed flow to transport the growing production from northern locations in the U.S. and Canada to the Gulf Coast. These reversals include the Seaway Pipeline (from Cushing, Oklahoma to Freeport Texas) and the Pegasus Pipeline (from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas). Earlier reversals included the Spearhead pipeline, which was reversed in 2006 to transport supplies from Chicago to Cushing. A new pipeline, the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project (from Cushing to Nederland, Texas), SELECTED CRUDE OIL PIPELINES AND RECENT PROJECTS 9 Fort St. John Zama Fort McMurray Canadian Oil Sands Edmonton Cheecham Vancouver Hardisty Calgary Regina Cromer Seattle Lethbridge Gretna Minot Bakken Clearbrook Portland Casper Niobrara Salt Lake City Denver Midland Permian Eagle Ford Superior Flanagan Steele City Cushing Houston Freeport Nederland Chicago Patoka Wood River New Orleans Ottawa Montreal Toronto Buffalo Sarnia Toledo KEY: Seaway Reversal & Twin (2014), 850 kbpd Pegasus Pipeline (existing), 95 kbpd Spearhead Pipeline (existing), 190 kbpd Gulf Coast Pipeline (2014), 700 kbpd Flanagan South (2014), 600 kbpd Enbridge Mainline (existing), 2500 kbpd; Enhancements (2015), 350+ kbpd Sandpiper Pipeline (2016), 225 kbpd Mustang (existing), 100 kbpd Trans Mountain Expansion (2017), 590 kbpd Keystone Pipeline (existing), 500 kbpd Express (existing), 280 kbpd Platte (existing), 160 kbpd Bridge Tex (2014) & Permian Express II (2015), 530 kbpd combined Important Oil Plays Source: Pipeline Company Websites.
15 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 16 Growing oil sands production and low Canadian heavy oil prices have resulted in several proposals for new greenfield pipelines to transport these supplies out of Alberta, including Keystone XL, Energy East, and Northern Gateway. Keystone XL would transport additional Canadian supplies to the U.S., while Energy East would target eastern Canadian refineries and export markets and Northern Gateway would transport supplies to the west coast of British Columbia for export purposes. Existing pipelines are also proposing expansions, including Trans Mountain pipeline (to the west coast of British Columbia) and Alberta Clipper Pipeline (for export to the U.S.). Figure 10 shows the relationship between projected Canadian oil production growth and takeaway oil pipeline capacity. As shown in Figure 11, U.S. refineries are obtaining nearly 6% of their crude oil inputs from domestic supplies via barge, truck, and rail (up from only 2% a few years ago). While the use of these alternative modes of oil transportation is increasing, refineries still obtain most (over 90%) of their crude oil supplies from pipelines and ocean-going tankers. Rapidly growing production and the comparatively slow development of new pipeline capacity has led to an increasing amount of oil transported by barge, truck, and rail. Several rail terminals have been developed in North Dakota in the past few years, and by the end of 2013 roughly 700,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil were being shipped daily by rail to refineries in the Gulf Coast, East Coast, and West Coast 5. Bakken supplies have also been barged down the Mississippi River to Gulf Coast refineries. Eagle Ford supplies are being shipped by tanker and barge to refineries in the Gulf Coast and East Coast, with the port of Corpus Christi being one of the key locations where Eagle Ford supplies are loaded onto tankers and barges. WCSB TAKEAWAY CAPACITY VS SUPPLY FORECAST (million barrels per day) Rail - Current Capacity Only Western Canadian Supply + U.S. Bakken Movements Albert Clipper Expansion Albert Clipper Expansion Rangeland and Milk River Express TransCanada Energy East Trans Mountain Expansion Northern Gateway Keystone XL Keystone Enbridge Mainline Trans Mountain Western Canadian Refineries Source: Crude Oil: Forecast, Markets and Transportation, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, June 2013.
16 17 Crude Oil Demand: The U.S. Refining Sector Crude oil supplies are delivered to refineries throughout the United States. About 50% of U.S. refining capacity is located in the Gulf Coast, and another 21% is located in the Midwest 6. Refineries process crude oil into petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel, and other products. Refining a barrel of crude oil involves a series of complex processes. The first stage for all refineries focuses on the initial distillation in which the barrel of crude oil is heated and separated into its component parts. Subsequent processes, often referred to as conversion, focus on transforming lower-valued products, such as bunker fuel suited for ships, into higher-valued products, such as gasoline for automobiles. Conversion processes include the removal of sulfur and other impurities, as well as various chemical transformations performed under specific temperature and pressure conditions. It is the nature and scale of these conversion processes that distinguish one refinery from another. Because of local variations in crude availability and desired product output, refineries may be configured differently to optimize their conversion capabilities. As discussed above, numerous U.S. refineries have complex units designed to process a higher percentage of heavy crudes and produce a larger quantity of gasoline relative to fuel oil or other lower-valued finished products. U.S. refining capacity stands at approximately 17.8 million barrels per day. At the beginning of 2013, this capacity was spread across 57 refinery companies operating 139 refineries 7. These companies include vertically integrated operations (i.e., companies involved in the production of crude oil), as well as independent refiners (i.e., those with little or no crude production capabilities). The U.S. Refining Sector U.S. refining capacity stands at approximately 17.8 MILLION barrels per day Source: EIA CRUDE OIL DELIVERIES TO U.S. REFINERIES BY TRUCK, BARGE, AND RAIL % Thousand Barrels per Day Domestic Truck Deliveries Percent of All Deliveries Domestic Barge Deliveries Domestic Rail Deliveries 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% Percent of Total Refinery Crude Receipts % Source: EIA. The domestic rail, barge and truck deliveries are calculated as a percentage of the total for all foreign and domestic deliveries.
17 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 18 Operations, reflecting both the economics of the industry as well as each company s particular business strategy, range in scale from millions of barrels per day down to thousands of barrels per day. No refiner, however, owns more than 10.5% of total U.S. refining capacity 8. In addition, the U.S. market has seen a decline in the ownership of refining capacity on the part of major U.S. oil companies. Today, more than 50% of refinery capacity is owned by companies without significant exploration and production activity. One of the significant trends affecting U.S. refiners is the declining demand for refined petroleum products in U.S. markets. Consumption of refined products in the U.S. has fallen from 18.7 million barrels per day in 2005 to 16.4 million barrels per day recently, a decline of roughly 2.5 million barrels per day or 13% (see Figure 12). This decline in refined product demand in U.S. markets is due to various factors, including slow recovery from the economic recession and reduced demand for gasoline due to more fuel efficient vehicles and renewable fuel standards (which require biofuels to be blended with gasoline). U.S. Net Imports of Refined Products have fallen: MILLION barrels per day Source: EIA. U.S. FINISHED PETROLEUM PRODUCTS DEMAND (million barrels per day) 12 Motor Gasoline Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel Distillate Fuel Oil Other Source: EIA. Data for 2013 is the average of January through November.
18 19 Refined product demand has been strong in some regions outside the U.S., which has resulted in exports of refined products by U.S. refineries. Unlike crude oil, which is generally prohibited from being exported to overseas markets, refined products are allowed to be exported from the U.S. In 2011, the U.S. became a net exporter of petroleum products for the first time since 1949 (see Figure 13) 9. While some regions of the U.S. (such as the East Coast) still rely on imports of refined products, in aggregate the U.S. is now exporting more refined products than it is importing, and these trends are expected to continue. Export destinations for U.S. refiners include Mexico, Central and South America, and Western Europe. The majority of U.S. exports in recent periods have been distillate fuel oil, which has been in high demand in foreign markets (especially in Mexico and Central and South America) that do not have sufficient refining capacity to meet domestic distillate needs. Other U.S. exports tend to involve products for which there is little or no domestic demand. This would include by-products of the refining process that are consumed in limited quantities domestically, as well as products, such as gasoline that does not meet regional and/ or national fuel specifications, for which the domestic market is constrained by environmental regulations. U.S. NET IMPORTS OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS (million barrels per day) Historical 2013 Projections Source: Historical values ( ) from EIA Petroluem Supply data. Data for 2013 is the average from monthly data through November Projections ( ) from EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release. Net imports are calculated using zero for exports of distillate fuel oil with sulfur contents of 0-15 ppm and greater than 2000 ppm.
19 Understanding Crude Oil and Product Markets 20 How Has the Refining Sector Been Affected by Today s Crude Market? Refineries in the U.S. have been adjusting their crude slates to take advantage of the increasing, relatively low-priced supplies in the U.S. and Canada. The growing U.S. production of crude oil in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian basins is primarily light sweet crude oil. Many U.S. refineries are relying more heavily upon these domestic crudes, displacing imports of light sweet crude from overseas. Imports of light sweet crude have declined considerably as a result of the growing domestic supplies (see Figure 14). Refineries on the east coast of the United States are among those seeking to take advantage of the relatively low-cost domestic oil supplies. Some refineries have started to access Bakken oil supplies via rail and barge, and others are planning to do so. Likewise, some east coast refineries are now accessing Eagle Ford oil supplies via barge and tanker. Not all refineries will make the switch to run the growing domestic supplies of light sweet crude oil. Many refineries in the U.S. (particularly in the Midwest, mid-continent, and Gulf Coast) have invested in complex refining units designed to run lower-priced heavy crude oils, which are being produced in increasing volumes from the oil sands of Canada, as well as from Mexico and other places. For example, refineries in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan have undertaken projects that have added an estimated 500,000 barrels per day of heavy crude refining capacity during These refineries are now optimally designed to run crude slates consisting primarily of heavy sour crude oil supplies. Refineries that have invested in complex refinery capacity continue to run mostly imported heavy crude oil because any potential improvement in product realizations from running light sweet crude in these refineries is generally more than offset by the higher cost of the light crudes as compared to heavy crudes. These shifts in the geographic sources for refinery crude oil inputs have had varying impacts on U.S. refineries. Refineries in the Midwest and mid-continent have benefited from the less expensive crude oil supplies that have resulted from growing production and infrastructure constraints. Refining margins have been relatively strong in these markets, as indicated by the crack spreads shown in (Figure 15) that measure the difference between wholesale prices for refined products and crude oil prices. In the past few years, refining margins on the east coast of the U.S. have been under pressure, in part because the refiners lack access to low-cost domestic supplies. While some east coast refiners are now starting to access these low-cost supplies, their historic dependence on sweet crude oil imports that track the higher Brent oil prices has hurt their refining margins. 11 Three refineries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have closed in the past few years as a result of their low refining margins and the small scale of their operations. Other factors leading to their closure and affecting east coast refineries more generally include the declining demand for refined products, competition from product imports from other 12 IMPORTS BY CRUDE OIL QUALITY (million barrels per day) Heavy Sour Medium Sour Light Sour Medium and Heavy Sweet Light Sweet Source: Import volumes from EIA data is through November. Note: Heavy, Medium and Light are characterized by the oil's API gravity in the following manner: < 28: Heavy; 28-33: Medium; >33: Light. The sweet/sour characterization is defined by the oil's sulfur content, with <= 0.42% Sulfur characterizing "Sweet" oil.
20 21 regions, costly environmental regulations, and the limited capability of some refiners to increase their production of distillate (which has been more valuable in recent periods). 12 Some of these same difficult market conditions have resulted in low utilization rates for refineries on the east coast relative to other areas, as shown in Figure 16. Overall, utilization of U.S. refineries declined between 2005 and 2009 due to declining demand for refined products and increased refining capacity, but has increased in more recent periods, in part due to the closures of some refineries and the improving economy CRACK SPREADS, JANUARY 2009-JANUARY 15, 2014 (dollars per barrel) WTI-Mid Continent Crack Spread Brent-NY Harbor Crack Spread Jan-09 Mar-09 May-09 Jul-09 Sep-09 Nov-09 Jan-10 Mar-10 May-10 Jul-10 Sep-10 Nov-10 Jan-11 Mar-11 May-11 Jul-11 Sep-11 Nov-11 Jan-12 Mar-12 May-12 Jul-12 Sep-12 Nov-12 Jan-13 Mar-13 May-13 Jul-13 Sep-13 Nov-13 Jan-14 Source: Bloomberg. Ratio indicates number of barrels of crude refined into barrels of gasoline and heating/gasoil. Note that the Brent-NY Harbor Crack Spread uses Brent crude spot prices unadjusted for transportation costs from its North Sea trading hub, and thus is likely an overestimate as a proxy for East Coast refiner margins. 100 U.S. REGIONAL REFINERY UTILIZATION (%) East Coast Gulf Coast Midwest West Coast Rocky Mountain Source: EIA. Data for 2013 is the average of January through November.
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