Increased refinery runs—based on increases in both capacity and utilization—have helped accommodate increases in U.S. crude oil production. The United States' capacity to refine crude oil into petroleum products—measured as operable atmospheric crude distillation unit (CDU) capacity—increased by 0.2% in 2014, reaching 18.0 million barrels per calendar day (b/d), according to EIA's recently released annual Refinery Capacity Report.
The refinery capacity reported for the beginning of 2015 includes expansions that were operable on January 1, but not necessarily operating. Because these units were not operating as of January 1, capacity for those projects is listed as idle. Dakota Prairie Refining recently completed construction of one of the few new refineries built in the United States over the past 30 years. This relatively simple refinery, which is located in western North Dakota, has CDU capacity of 19,000 b/d and will refine locally produced crude oil to make diesel fuel. Earlier this year, Kinder Morgan added a 42,000 b/d condensate splitter to its Galena Park, Texas crude oil terminal that is also included in the capacity estimate for the start of 2015. A second unit, with similar capacity, is expected to start operating this summer, but it is not included in the January 1, 2015 capacity estimate.
U.S. refinery capacity and utilization have increased to accommodate increasing domestic crude oil production, which rose to an average 8.7 million b/d in 2014, 3.2 million barrels higher than in 2010. Gross inputs to refineries averaged a record 16.1 million b/d in 2014 compared with 15.1 million b/d in 2010. Nearly 75% of the 1.0 million b/d increase in refinery gross inputs is the result of a 4 percentage point increase in refinery utilization compared with 2010 (from 86% to 90%). The rest of the increase is attributable to capacity expansions. Over the same period, crude imports decreased by 1.9 million b/d, and crude exports increased by 0.3 million b/d.