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Global refining overcapacity will weigh on margins

Friday, February 6, 2015

Subject

Outlook for the oil refining sector.

Significance

The crude-led oil price drop has provided a huge, albeit temporary, boost to refining sector margins. Royal Dutch Shell, the first major oil company to announce its fourth-quarter 2014 earnings, saw downstream earnings jump to 1.55 billion dollars from 558 million dollars one year earlier. However, the refining sector remains plagued by overcapacity, likely to result in additional closures, especially in Europe.

Impacts

  • Although the crude-led oil price drop has bought some breathing room, further European refinery closures are likely.
  • US oil product exports will remain buoyant.
  • Japanese and South Korean refineries will struggle to retain their share of Asian export markets.
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