New Forces at Work in Refining

Industry Views of Critical Business and Operations Trends

by D. J. Peterson, Sergej Mahnovski


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Reports the results of discussions with high-level representatives of 40 refining firms, technology and service providers, research institutions, and other organizations selected for their prominent positions in the refining industry. Presents these representatives' understanding of issues viewed as critical to refined products markets and refinery operations currently and in the years ahead. Representatives suggested that the U.S. refining industry had entered a new era and they were generally positive about the future of their own operations, despite impending environmental regulations. Although they believe that the United States has sufficient near-term refining capacity base, they were concerned about regional market volatility and price spikes. Long-term supply-and-demand scenarios were viewed as highly uncertain. Refining leaders do not see their sector as technology-constrained, and they recommend that the Department of Energy (DOE) assume a more prominent policy role concerning refining and fuels issues. From the discussions, RAND identified a series of priority policy questions pertaining to refined product supply that merit close attention by DOE and other government decisionmakers.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter One

    Introduction: A Critical Infrastructure

  • Chapter Two

    The Refining Industry and Petroleum Products Markets

  • Chapter Three

    Refinery Operations and Technologies

  • Chapter Four

    Regulatory and Financial Environment

  • Chapter Five

    The Refining Industry in a New Era: Key Findings and Policy Issues

  • Appendix

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Materials

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Science and Technology for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the United States Department of Energy.

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