Refinery Margin Tracker: USAC ups imports of blendstocks, crude imports fall
Tighter US Atlantic Coast refinery capacity is supporting stronger margins for domestic crudes while replacing imported crudes with blendstocks as they seek to fill the gap left by the shutdown of Philadelphia Energy Solutions earlier this year, an analysis from S&P Global Platts showed Monday.
The USAC cracking margin for Bakken crude averaged $11.75/b for the week ended November 15, up from the $11.25/b a week earlier, while margins dropped for imported Nigerian Bonny Light and Forties to $6.61/b and $4.77/b, respectively, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Better domestic margins have USAC refiners depending on North American crudes to fill their pipestills, supplementing less economic imported crudes by increasing their processing of blendstocks to make finished products.
USAC crude imports averaged 418,000 b/d for the week ended November 8, down from the 593,000 b/d the week earlier, Energy Information Administration data showed.
However, refinery utilization rose during the same time period, to 65.3% from the 59.7% the week earlier as Monroe Energy begins to return to service its 190,000 b/d Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery from planned work.
Imports of blending components into the USAC rose 162,000 b/d for the week ended November 8, up 69,000 b/d from the week earlier, supporting the use of blending components as a feedstock.
Total crude runs for the week were 17,000 b/d higher to average 742,000 b/d, while blendstock feed jumped 104,000 b/d to 188,000 b/d.
Increased blendstock use supported higher USAC production of RBOB, which rose to 1.328 million b/d in the week ended November 8, from the 1.258 million b/d the week earlier, Energy Information Administration data showed.
Almost 800,000 barrels of naphtha were imported into the USAC between October 31 and November 11, according to US Customs data. When processed in a catalytic reformer, naphtha produces butane which is used in winter grade gasoline.