It may not rival the seasonal excitement many students have about the last day of the school year, but petroleum analysts eagerly anticipate each year's release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Refinery Capacity Report, detailing information about every refinery in the United States. U.S. refining capacity fluctuates, expanding or contracting as market conditions vary, reflecting shifts in consumption patterns and changes in product specifications. Corporate ownership of refineries changes as well, and some facilities have changed hands multiple times. In 2012, refinery expansions, restarts, sales, and closures affected total refinery capacity, and there have been additional changes so far this year, as discussed below. Further changes may occur before the end of 2013, as market conditions evolve.
As of January 1, 2013, the United States had 139 operating refineries and 4 idle refineries with total atmospheric crude oil distillation capacity of 17.8 million barrels per calendar day (bbl/d), an increase of 501,000 bbl/d from January 1, 2012. A refinery is classified as idle when the atmospheric crude oil distillation unit (ACDU) is not in operation and not under active repair, but is capable of being placed in operation within 30 days; or when the ACDU is not in operation, but is under active repair that can be completed within 90 days. A refinery may be idle for any number of reasons including routine maintenance, unplanned maintenance, or shutdown due to market conditions.
The increase in capacity as of January 1, 2013 versus the prior year is mostly due to Motiva's expansion of its Port Arthur, Texas refinery and the restart of the Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery formerly owned by Phillips 66 and now owned by Monroe Energy, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Motiva is a joint venture between subsidiaries of Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco. The Port Arthur facility's ACDU capacity increased from 285,000 bbl/d at the start of 2012 to 600,250 bbl/d at the start of 2013, and is now the largest refinery in the United States.
While the latest Refinery Capacity Report presents a snapshot of the refinery sector at the start of the year, EIA continues to track additional expansions that have been completed or announced and additional ownership changes that have occurred, changing the rankings of the largest refiners (Table 1). BP sold two refineries in 2013 in Texas City, Texas, and Carson, California. In February, Marathon Petroleum Corp. completed the purchase of the Texas City refinery and is now the third largest refiner in the United States. In June, Tesoro completed the acquisition of BP's Carson refinery. Tesoro has also announced the sale of its Ewa Beach (Kapolei), Hawaii refinery to Par Petroleum Corp. In addition to the sales of Texas City and Carson, BP has a project underway to increase the heavy crude oil processing capability of its Whiting, Indiana, refinery. The project will expand coking capacity to 102,000 bbl/d, and add a hydrotreater. Northern Tier Energy expanded its St. Paul Park, Minnesota, refinery in May.