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AFPM CEO Chet Thompson Projects Favorable Outlook for U.S. Refiners

Speaking to the Press on March 19 at AFPM’s 115th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, AFPM’s CEO Chet Thompson provided reporters with an overview of America’s refining and petrochemical industry as follows:

Last year, U.S. refining capacity reached an all-time high of 18.4 million bpd, and crude runs were at a record 16.5 million bpd. U.S. demand for gasoline exceeded 143 billion gallons and distillate demand remained strong at 59 billion gallons. Exports of refined petroleum products were strong last year, totaling more than 2.3 million bpd, more than double what they were a decade ago.

Linde Engineering ethylene steam cracker.

Linde Engineering ethylene steam cracker. U.S. remains preferred location for global petrochemical industry.

Even more promising is that the U.S. EIA projects demand for U.S. refined products will remain strong this year, and for many decades to come. As far out as 2040, EIA projects that refined products will continue to supply more than 1/3 of U.S. and more than 40% of global energy demand.

U.S. refiners continue to be a huge part of the domestic U.S. economy. Last year, refiners supported 2 million jobs and paid more than $100 billion in wages. All in, refiners contributed approximately $365 billion to the U.S. economy.

The U.S. petrochemical industry had another good year as well. The U.S. remains the preferred location for the global petrochemical industry, due to abundant domestic resources. Product demand was strong and getting stronger. Indeed, demand is forecast to rise 6% per year and exports by 60% by 2020 over 2015 volumes.

To keep up with demand, there is more than $150 billion in capital projects in the queue, with $12.5 billion expected this year alone. The U.S. petrochemical industry also supported 2 million jobs last year and contributed more than $322 billion to the U.S. economy.

So, together, the petrochemical and refining industries contributed almost $700 billion to GDP in 2016.

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Posted by: Rene Gonzalez

Rene G Gonzalez is the Director for and contributing editor for As a chemical engineer (Texas A&M University: 1982), Gonzalez has worked in various engineering capacities throughout the energy industry value chain, primarily in refinery processing and operations.

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