By Dan Luther
While every PADD saw declining refinery utilization rates last week, the strong majority of the decline came from PADD 1 and 2 – a result of the Polar Vortex. Cold weather causes significant operational issues for refineries, which in turn affects fuel supplies regionally. Several refineries in the Midwest and Northeast were hampered by weather. Among the Midwest refineries going offline:
- Marathon Detroit
- BP Whiting
- CITGO Lemont
- P66/Cenovus Wood River (fire this week)
- HollyFrontier Tulas
- MPC Catlettsburg (electrical fire)
Those refineries going offline simultaneously contributed to an 8.7 percentage point decline in refinery utilization rates, falling down to 84.2% in the US’s second most prolific refining area (after the Gulf Coast).
In the Northeast, PBF had a fire at Del City and is attempting to restart this week. P66 also had some unplanned repairs at Bayway Linden. The Northeast has already seen quite low utilization rates, so the outages sent utilization down 4.9 percentage points to 69.7%.
The decline in refinery output contributed to steep draws in PADD 2 (Midwest), though these were partially offset by reduced fuel demand – few want to drive in -50⁰ F weather! PADD 1 (East Coast) saw less of an affect from the cold, with the Northeast region seeing small builds in both diesel and gasoline stocks.