EIA may initiate monthly survey of US refinery outages

08 January 2010 22:02  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The Energy Information Administration (EIA) may initiate a monthly survey in 2011 that would compulsorily require US companies to disclose oil refinery outages, the agency said on Friday.

The EIA had said in September that it was looking to expand its data collection, including refinery information, to support the efforts of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and other regulators to combat market manipulation.

Energy security legislation passed in 2007 a year in which turnaround activity was unusually heavy requires the EIA to monitor refinery shutdowns.

In a statement, the EIA referred to a notice published in the Federal Register, in which the agency said it has been using commercially available data to meet that mandate.

But due to the refiners' habit of secrecy, privately published information is often incomplete or reported only after the event has commenced, the notice said.

Interested parties were invited to comment on the proposal by 28 February.

The mooted compulsory survey would require refiners to tell the EIA of their plans for turnarounds three to four months in advance, as well as disclose unplanned outages.

The EIA already conducts a number of compulsory surveys. Its weekly oil, refined products and natural gas statistics are closely watched by energy markets and can indirectly affect chemical markets as well.

The notice in the Federal Register did not discuss the possible timing or format of how the refinery data would be made public. A spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

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By: Stephen Burns
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