U.S. atmospheric crude distillation capacity rose 1.6% to 18.6 million barrels per calendar day as of Jan. 1, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/ Calendar-day capacity is a measurement of how many barrels of oil a refinery can process in a 24-hour period under normal operating conditions. Refinery capacity rose 2% in 2016.
The capacities of catalytic hydrocracking and deasphalting units increased 4.5% and 6.1%, respectively, over the past year, according to the EIA. Secondary units such as these support heavy crude oil processing and production of ultra-low sulfur diesel and gasoline.
In 2017, the Magellan Midstream Partners LP condensate splitter in Corpus Christi, Texas, started operating, but was idle as of Jan. 1. Total idle capacity in the United States rose to 1.6% in 2017, from 0.8% in 2016. “Condensate splitters are distillation units that process condensate, which is lighter than crude oil,” according to the EIA.
“Gross inputs to refineries, also referred to as refinery runs, averaged a record-high 16.5 million barrels per day in 2016.” U.S. crude oil production fell 0.5 million barrels per day in 2016, from 2015, and was the first annual decline since 2008. Net imports of crude oil rose by a similar amount, offsetting the decline in production. “Despite the increase in refinery runs, atmospheric crude distillation capacity increased even more, lowering refinery utilization in 2016 compared with 2015.”