Record High U.S. Refinery Capacity Strengthens Domestic Crudes

Oils produced in the U.S. gained as refiners increased capacity to the highest level on record and Gulf Coast consumption of crude and other feedstocks reached its highest level this year.

Operable refinery capacity increased by 116,000 barrels a day to 17.8 million in the week ended April 5, the Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Energy Department, said today.

“The refinery operating capacity reached its all-time record this week,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “As the refiners have been returning from their maintenance, we’re going to turn the high crude oil inventories into more product inventories. As a result, I would expect the demand for crude oil just goes up.”

Refinery gross inputs in PADD 3, the Gulf Coast, rose 92,000 barrels a day to 8.14 million barrels a day in the week ended April 5, the EIA said.

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s 600,000-barrel-a-day Port Arthur refinery, the largest in the U.S., is starting a crude unit, two people familiar with operations said today.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s increased 75 cents a barrel against domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate to $14.75 at 2:03 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium declined 50 cents to $14.30.

Poseidon’s premium widened 45 cents to $8.50. Mars Blend’s premium widened 70 cents to $8.70 and Eugene Island’s gained 50 cents to $13.50. Southern Green Canyon’s premium narrowed 30 cents to $7.70. Thunder Horse’s premium was unchanged at $11.50.

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