Some interesting oil industry statistics - refining & transportation

©1997-2009 Gibson Consulting

Perspective US Gov't
Index US imports - from where? US imports - volume US exports Largest exporters Largest importers Iraq By company
Costs Largest refiners US Capacity Capacity by state Product imports Market share Transportation
Leading countries US Production Leading US States Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields US Production Peak Production Peak Number of wells US - Wells drilled/producing US - shut-in wells
How many gallons? How much gasoline? How much plastic? Production costs Finding costs US Gov't profits Uses of oil
US - oil US - gasoline World Changes By sector US vs China
World US US - Bakken US - shut-in wells Peak Oil Drill Baby Drill Largest world oil fields Largest US oil fields Largest world gas fields
Largest that don't use imported oil Profits Seven Sisters
Who sets the price? Price history Factors Why so high? Gasoline price breakdown Historic change in pricing basis
How much in a barrel? Retailer Profits No. of stations US Price breakdown Sales per station No Middle East oil Price in other countries
Producers Importers Companies Oil Fields Gas Fields Reserves Profits
Exports to Japan ANWR
Drill Baby Drill Salvation in Canada? US - Bakken Essay
Made of dinosaurs? Why so much in the Mid East? Who owns it? Abiotic oil
Miscellaneous Myths Alternatives
Finding costs Hot areas Bakken Time to bring onstream
How many gallons in a barrel? How much gasoline from a barrel? Where to buy gas not from Mid East? Who sets the price of oil? Why does Alaska export oil to Japan?

By Richard Gibson:
What Things Are Made Of
The story of America's dependency
on mineral commodities (including oil) in everyday life.
Buy the book. Print (312 pages): $17.95; electronic (PDF) $9.99. Additional e-versions details to come.
visit the blog
Share this article

Support this page!

Page index: Refinery profit margins RefineriesRefineries by state

Refinery profits

Refinery profit margins are highly sensitive to both the price of oil (their buying price) and the price of gasoline and other products (their selling price). While the prices of products are closely related to the price of the oil that is used to create them, it is not always a straight-line relationship.

The following links provide evidence that refiner profits have ranged from as much as $33 per barrel to as low as a loss of $10 per barrel within a two-year period (2007-2008). Overall, the long-term average profit for refining companies in the US is about $6.32 per barrel (15¢ per gallon of product; 42 gallons per barrel).

$5.03 per barrel (Gulf Coast, March 2004)

$12.45 per barrel May 2008

Long term average = $6.32 per barrel • Dec 2008 US = -$6.70 per barrel (loss)

May 2008 (CA) 19¢/gal = $7.98/bbl

May 2007 = $33 per barrel; Nov 2008 = negative (loss) $10/bbl

Oil Refineries

In 2003 the four largest U.S. refining companies controlled a little more than 40 percent of the nation’s refining capacity. In contrast, the top four companies in the auto manufacturing, brewing, tobacco, floor coverings and breakfast cereals industries controlled between 80 percent and 90 percent of the market. [Source]

What company is the largest oil refiner in the US?

The following information on active oil refineries comes from the Energy Information Administration. Total in the US is 149 refineries. For more specifics, such as refinery owner and capacity of individual refineries, go to This Page, click on a state, and then click on "petroleum overview" on the state page. The list is in order of total capacity in 2005. States not listed, such as New York, Florida, and Arizona, do not have any refineries. EIA Information on individual refineries.

US total refining capacity = 17,125,000 barrels of oil per day. Of this, 19.5 gallons per barrel, or about 44% (the most that can be made) becomes gasoline: 7,535,000 barrels of gasoline, times 42 gallons per barrel = 316,470,000 gallons of gasoline capable of being refined each day. Although most refineries are operating at near capacity (say 95% to 98% of capacity), any shutdown (hurricane or otherwise) obviously affects this total. In March 2005, US gasoline consumption was 320,500,000 gallons per day. You do the math.

UPDATE: According to this EIA page, US gasoline consumption in 2004 averaged 382,400,000 gallons per day - meaning we must import almost 66 million gallons of gasoline each and every day, in addition to imported crude oil.

STATENumber of RefineriesCapacity, barrels per day, 2005
New Jersey4615,000
10. Indiana2433,000
20. Wyoming5152,000
New Mexico3112,600
North Dakota158,000
30. West Virginia119,400

Compiled by Dick Gibson, Gibson Consulting, 301 N. Crystal St., Butte, MT 59701

Want to know more?
Gibson Consulting recommends: Read The Prize, by Daniel Yergin.

©1997-2009 Gibson Consulting
Background image of drilling well in Utah in 1981 © 2000 by Dick Gibson