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Global oil refinery industry - Statistics & facts

The process of converting crude oil into usable products is called refining. Refining is part of the midstream sector, one of three main components of the oil and gas industry. The most commonly made product from one barrel of crude oil is motor fuel, or gasoline in particular. Once processed crude oil has a wide array of uses. Apart from being turned into transportation fuels, it is also a major feedstock in the petrochemical industry and the building block for plastics.

Coronavirus and refining profits

Oil companies across the world extract over 95 million barrels of crude oil per day. Oil production was at an all-time high in 2018, largely due to greater demand by the mobility sector and industrial growth. As the gasoline and diesel retail market is one of the most important customers for refineries, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting mobility restrictions greatly affected profit margins of refiners around the world. The Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp refining hub recorded an average loss of 1.28 U.S. dollars per barrel for WTI MEH cracking in the second quarter of 2020.

Capacities and throughput

The total global refinery capacity for crude oil is over 100 million barrels per day. In recent years, China has notably increased its refinery capacities and today the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (or Sinopec in short) has one of the largest atmospheric distillation capacities in the world. However, despite the great strides made by China, as of 2019 the United States remains the largest oil refining country. That year, U.S. oil throughput stood at 16.5 million barrels per day, an increase of over three million barrels compared to 1990.
In 2019, the refinery throughput of ExxonMobil, the largest U.S. oil company was roughly four million barrels per day. Daily processing volumes have declined by over one million barrels since 2012.

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Global oil refinery industry

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Capacities & throughput

Refining margins



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