Refinery restructuring pressures mount
The refining industry’s centre of gravity is moving east, with the most immediate consequences for the owners of Europe’s elderly refining capacity, writes Martin Quinlan
THE Asia-Pacific region is now home to nearly a third of the world’s refining capacity, after the construction of the equivalent of three large new refineries every year for the past 10 years. Over the same period, the region has become the world’s largest consumer of oil products, while North America and Europe have seen their oil use decline.
But Asia-Pacific’s new refiners also have their eyes on export markets. With the world’s newest stock of refining capacity, drawing-board designed to make products to the latest specifications, and capable of running less-costly crudes, they have the edge to take on established refiners elsewhere. Other facilitators of long-distance trade are already in place: refined product tankers have become larger, reducing the costs of transport, while import capacity in independent terminals has been expanding and distribution infrastructure is made available to independent users.
The problem is that refining capacity worldwide is well...
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