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U.S. Refining Industry Reckons with Uncertain Energy Future

By Scott Jenkins |

Many indicators point to current success and prosperity for U.S. petroleum refineries, but simultaneously, the industry is facing a future of massive changes in energy and transportation By many measures, the U.S. petroleum-refining industry is succeeding and prospering. According to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM; Washington, D.C.; www.afpm.org), U.S. refining capacity topped 18.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d), and capacity utilization averaged over 93% last year, and the U.S. has become a net exporter of refined products. AFPM president and CEO Chet Thompson struck an optimistic tone to open the 2019 AFPM Annual Meeting in March in San Antonio, saying that the state of the petroleum refining industry is strong and touting the industry’s safety record and reduced emissions, but also warning that the industry’s “continued success is not guaranteed.” Even as the petroleum refining industry thrives in the near term, it is being forced to reckon with a long-term future in which power generation and transportation may look dramatically different than they have in past decades. The environmental and climate externalities associated with the burning of fossil fuels have forced the world to find ways to…
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