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Lower Demand to Cut Refinery Rates in Fourth Quarter, IEA Says

Global refiners will process 400,000 barrels a day less crude in the fourth quarter because of plant halts and a lower demand outlook, according to the International Energy Agency.

Rates will drop to 75.4 million barrels a day in the period compared with 75.8 million in the third quarter, the Paris-based agency said today in its monthly report.

Crude demand was revised up by 140,000 barrels a day for the third quarter, as “robust refinery margins lifted runs in Europe, more than offsetting lower-than-expected U.S. runs in September,” the agency said.

“In both regions, the bottom line is that exports have become a key driver of refining activity and profits, not just the outlet for surplus product that they used to be,” the IEA said.

European refiners, “buoyed by a dramatic turnaround in refining margins,” have been postponing seasonal maintenance and are processing more crude through the system, amid reduced output capacity from last year, according to the report.

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