Crude oil refinery capacity in the US set a new record in 2019 due to higher crude production and less crude imports, the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement on Friday.
US crude oil refinery distillation capacity reached a record high of 19 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, the EIA said, which marked an increase of 0.2 million bpd, or 0.9%, from the previous record of 18.8 million bpd that was set the year before.
A total of 135 refineries were operable in the US last year, the EIA noted.
The main reason behind the new record for crude oil refinery capacity in 2019 was because the US produced more crude oil and imported less crude compared to the previous year.
"As the US has increased crude oil production over the past decade, the average density of US crude oil has become lighter," the statement said.
"Because US refineries imported less of the crude oil they processed and replaced imports with domestically produced crude oil, the average API gravity -- a measure of a crude oil’s density where higher numbers mean lower density -- of crude oil inputs to refineries increased," it added.
As an example, the EIA highlighted the US Gulf Coast, which is home to about half of the refining capacity in the country. The refineries in that region used imported crude oil for only 28% of its crude oil inputs to refineries during 2019, down from 69% in 2010, according to the EIA.
"US refineries have adapted to this changing crude oil slate by slightly increasing their yields of petroleum products that are derived from lighter crude oil, such as jet fuel, gasoline, and distillate," the statement said.
"These lighter products often have higher refining margins, a measure that represents the difference between the prices of petroleum products and crude oil," it added.
By Ovunc Kutlu