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U.S. Petroleum Refining: Snapshot 2015

By Chemical Engineering |

Developments from the 2015 AFPM annual meeting frame a picture of the current state of the U.S. petroleum refining industry On a broad level, the outlook for the U.S. petroleum-refining industry remains bright, despite a recent decline in crude oil prices. Dramatic gains in the production of crude oil and natural gas in North America have given U.S. refiners access to low-cost energy and discounted feedstocks. Meanwhile, investments in capital and technology are positioning them to take advantage of the diverse and dynamic crude-oil slate available. But while the elements are in place for a prospering industry, success and profitability do not come easily, and petroleum refiners each must navigate a unique path that is beset by technical, regulatory and logistical challenges. The annual meeting of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM; Washington, D.C.; www.afpm.org), held in late March in San Antonio, Tex., provides a forum for assessing the state of the petroleum-refining industry in the U.S. and for discussing some of the many challenges facing the sector. Solid margins Exploitation of shale deposits in the U.S. has meant that the country has experienced continued low natural-gas prices — which keep energy and…
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