At the same time, the United States continues to import significant amounts of petroleum products (2.1 million bbl/d on average in 2013). However, imports are generally declining, and since mid-2011, the United States consistently has been a net petroleum product exporter. In 2013, net exports reached record levels both on average for full-year 2013 (1.4 million bbl/d) and in December (2.5 million bbl/d). The United States is now a net exporter of most products, with the exceptions of gasoline and unfinished oils, which are intermediate products further processed by refineries to produce finished products. Imports are important in regionally and seasonally balancing supply and demand in the United States. Although the Gulf Coast is a large net exporter of gasoline, the East Coast continues to import substantial amounts of gasoline. Given existing infrastructure constraints, it is generally more economical for the East Coast to import gasoline, mostly from Europe and Canada. During most of the year, East Coast imports of gasoline cause the United States to be a net importer of gasoline. However, during periods of low gasoline demand in the United States, such as November and December, the United States has shifted to become a net gasoline exporter in recent years. Likewise, imports play a critical role in supplying distillate and propane during the winter, particularly on the East Coast, when local refinery and gas plant production, along with shipments from other regions, are insufficient to meet increases in demand.
Outlook for Refinery Outages and Available Refinery Capacity in the First Half of 2014
EIA has resumed regular semiannual reporting on refinery outages and their potential implications for available refinery capacity and petroleum product markets. EIA believes dissemination of such analyses can be beneficial to market participants who may otherwise be unable to access information regarding planned refinery outages.
This report uses the same analytical approach and the same data sources as in previous semiannual EIA reports on refinery outages beginning in 2008, up to and including Market Assessment of Refinery Outages issued in April 2011. Like prior reports, this report considers the adequacy of available refinery capacity to produce middle distillate (diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil) and gasoline to meet forecast demand for petroleum products, focusing on two refinery units, the crude distillation unit (CDU) and the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), that are most strongly correlated with distillate and gasoline production, respectively. The report estimates available refinery capacity using data on operable refinery capacity, planned refinery unit outages and historical average unplanned outages.