U.S. refineries expand to meet stronger demand for diesel

|  August 08, 2013 |

Shell Oil Deer Park Refinery

Shell Oil Company’s Deer Park refinery and petrochemical facility in Deer Park, Texas

After becoming a net exporter of petroleum just two years ago, the United States is now the world’s largest and is quickly becoming “refiner to the world,” thanks to growing interest in diesel coupled with shrinking demand for gasoline, according to a report from NBC News.

“Any companies with refining assets on the Gulf Coast are expanding their export terminals,” Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer, told NBC.

Diesel is a better deal for U.S. refineries than gasoline in two very big ways: the margins are much higher and demand is growing at twice the rate. Diesel is used much more widely outside of the U.S. (though demand for the fuel is growing here as well), while gasoline demand is dropping here as drivers opt for more fuel efficient vehicles.

The U.S. exported 1 million barrels a day of diesel fuel for the week ended Aug. 2, according to NBC. That’s up from the 840,000 barrels a week earlier this summer.

In March, ExxonMobil released a forecast that expects diesel to overtake gasoline as the top transportation fuel by 2020.

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