U.S. refineries processed a record amount of crude in July, surpassing an average of 18 million barrels a day for the first time.
Refiners are running at a record pace to supply strong U.S. and international demand for gasoline and diesel, the Energy Department said in a report Monday. The 18 million barrels of crude, a four-week average for the week ending July 6, was the most processed since the week of Aug. 25, 2017, when Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on the Gulf Coast. At least a fifth of U.S. refining capacity was disrupted by Harvey when it made landfall.
The Energy Department said the record-high levels of crude consumption by refineries are driven largely by production in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions. The U.S. Gulf Coast accounts for more than half of U.S. refining capacity and those refineries also processed a record amount of crude, reaching a four-week average of 9.5 million barrels a day of crude oil for the week ending July 6.
The Midwest region, with the second highest oil refining capacity, hit a record high four-week average consumption of 4.1 million barrels a day of crude oil for the week ending June 1.
The Energy Department predicted in its Short-Term Energy Outlook released in August that refienry U.S. refineries will process an average 16.9 million and 17 million barrels of crude oil a day in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Both which would be new records, surpassing the 2017 annual average of 16.6 million barrels a day.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.