US refinery utilisation plummets to record low due to February's winter storm

Author: Michael Sims

2021/03/03

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US refinery utilisation has sunk to a record low due to outages forced by the winter storm that hit the US Gulf Coast in mid-February.

US refinery rates in the week ended 26 February fell by 12.6 percentage points to 56.0%, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

This record-low mark was driven in large part by outages in Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) 3, which was reported to have only 40.9% utilisation. PADD 3 contains the majority of the Gulf Coast.

Many plants are already restarting. Restarting a refinery usually takes 8-14 days, according to Barin Wise, vice president, CDI (now part of ICIS).

Refinery utilisation has significant ramifications in petrochemical markets, as refineries are sources of a number of feedstocks, including propane, butane, naphtha, propylene and aromatics, among others.

Thumbnail image shows a fuel nozzle. Photo by Sipa Asia/Shutterstock