According to Platts, U.S. Midwest refinery runs rose in the week ending June 30, but failed to beat their four-week average for a second consecutive week. The Platts report is based on data released July 6 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Regional refinery utilization rose 1.7 percentage points to 96.90% but trailed the four-week average of 97.25%, the EIA data showed.
Refinery runs have missed their four-week average for two consecutive weeks after beating that threshold for the previous six weeks dating to early May, the data showed. Market players have suggested that Midwest refineries might be ready to cut runs with demand trending lower and amid strong supply. Even with that prediction, refinery utilization has topped 95% for seven consecutive weeks and beaten the U.S. average for utilization for eight straight weeks.
EIA data indicates refinery utilization went up even with production of finished gasoline falling 89,000 bpd to 2.68 million bpd the final week of June, the data showed. That suggests a focus on other refined products at Midwest refineries. Midwest gasoline stocks fell for the third consecutive week, dropping 1.14 million barrels to 53.24 million barrels. Inventory of conventional blendstock for oxygenate blending (CBOB), the dominant gasoline in regional storage, fell below 35 million barrels for the first time since early June.
According to the EIA, U.S. operable atmospheric crude distillation capacity reached 18.6 million bpd as of January 1, 2017, which is 1.6% higher than at the beginning of 2016. At the beginning of 2017, there were 137 operating refineries in the U.S. , with another four facilities listed as idle.