AFPM '12: Refiners can profit in changing gasoline, diesel market

01 April 2012 23:28  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--US refiners can simultaneously take advantage of falling gasoline demand, higher diesel margins and rising prices for propylene, an officer at UOP said on Sunday.

US gasoline demand has been declining since 2008 and may continue to do so into 2025, according to Jacobs Consultancy.

Meanwhile, margins for on-road diesel were more than $12/bbl, compared with less than $6/bbl for gasoline, according to US-based refiner Valero.

US refiners, though, can make the most out of both trends, said Keith Couch, senior business leader, aromatics and derivatives, process technology and equipment for UOP, a  US-based company that supplies catalysts and technology to petrochemical plants and refineries.

Couch made his comments on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Among the units at a refinery, hydrocrackers produce diesel and fluid catalytic crackers (FCCs) produce gasoline and petrochemicals.

To optimise diesel production, refiners can divert feedstock away from the FCC unit and to the hydrocracker.

However, by reducing feedstock to the FCC, the refiners can optimise production of propylene and aromatics while also reducing production of gasoline, Couch said.

In fact, there will always be a role for FCCs at US refineries ­ even as gasoline demand falls and diesel margins remain higher, Couch said.

Given trends in fuels, propylene and petrochemicals will play a key role for US refineries, said Michael Cleveland, business director, petrochemicals, process technology and equipment for UOP.

The IPC is hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). The conference lasts through Tuesday.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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