December 18, 1998
News Release 98-096
U.S. PETROLEUM REFINING INDUSTRY COMPETITIVE IN THE GLOBAL MARKET
U.S. consumption of refined petroleum products increased from 17.2 million barrels per day in
1993 to 18.6 million barrels per day in 1997 and 18.4 million barrels per day during January-
June 1998, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission in its publication Industry and
Trade Summary: Refined Petroleum Products.
U.S. production satisfies most of domestic demand for refined petroleum products, with
imports accounting for an average of 11 percent of annual consumption, according to the
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, recently released the report
as part of an ongoing series of reports on the thousands of products imported into and exported
from the United States. Following are other highlights of the report:
- The U.S. refined petroleum products industry is a globalized industry with U.S.
companies having holdings throughout the world and foreign petroleum companies
operating wholly owned subsidiaries or joint ventures in the United States. There are
165 operating refineries in the United States with the total capacity to refine
15.4 million barrels of crude petroleum per day.
- The primary product produced in U.S. refineries is finished motor fuels, followed by
distillate and residual fuel oils. U.S. production of these products increased from
17.8 million barrels per day in 1993 to 18.9 million barrels per day in 1997; production
has averaged 18.8 million barrels per day during January-June 1998. U.S. refinery
utilization rates increased to more than 94 percent in 1997.
- As a major world consumer of refined petroleum products, the United States is a net
importer of these products and accounts for less than 6 percent of the world's exports.
The United States relies primarily upon Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Nigeria, and
Canada to supplement domestic production. U.S. imports of these products have
remained relatively stable during 1993-97 and during January-June 1998.
- As of January 1, 1998, there were 702 operating refineries in the world with most of
the new distillation capacity in the Latin American and Caribbean nations, the Middle
East, and the Asia/Pacific region. World demand for refined petroleum products is
forecast to increase by 11 million barrels per day by 2002, with the bulk of the demand
in these regions. Prospects for joint ventures also appear to be greatest in these regions
as many have begun or are planning for the displacement of dirtier fuels with cleaner
burning gasoline and diesel fuel.
The foregoing information is from the ITC report Industry and Trade Summary: Refined
Petroleum Products (USITC Publication 3147, December 1998).
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and
foreign producers, and tariff treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic
factors affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as
factors bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
This report will be available on the ITC's Internet server at http://www.usitc.gov. A printed
copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S.
International Trade Commission, 500 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may be
faxed to 202-205-2104.
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