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IEA raises forecasts for 2023, 2024 global refinery runs


Impact of record Chinese runs to fade on new capacity

OECD refineries start Sep maintenance later than expected

  • Author
  • Elza Turner
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • Crude Oil Oil

The International Energy Agency has raised its 2023 and 2024 forecasts by around 160,000-170,000 b/d in its latest report Nov. 14.

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It now expects global crude runs to rise by 1.9 million b/d in 2023 and by 1 million b/d in 2024, to average 82.6 million b/d and 83.6 million b/d, respectively.

It has also revised upwards September global runs to 83.1 million b/d on record high Chinese runs at 15.7 million b/d as well as higher OECD refining activity compared with its earlier estimate.

According to the IEA, however, China's impact on annual throughput growth "will fade as we head into 2024" due to new capacity ramping up in other regions, including Oman's Duqm and Nigeria's Dangote.

Oman's Duqm refinery is increasing exports as it continues to ramp up processing after coming on stream earlier in 2023, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data. Meanwhile, Nigeria's Dangote is expecting its first crude oil deliveries in December from state-owned oil company NNPC. Kuwait's Al-Zour refinery has also been ramping up this year and is expected to announce full commissioning shortly, according to S&P Global data.

The ramping up of new capacity in crude-exporting countries "will further reshape both crude and product market flows and present a challenge to those refineries that lack scale, a protected domestic market, or sit at the high-end of the industry cost curve," the IEA said.

The IEA also expects global refinery runs to reach a new annual peak in December of 84.2 million b/d after falling to a "trough" of 81 million b/d in October.

September runs

Meanwhile September runs, while lower month on month in the OECD due to maintenance, were "stronger than expected" in all three OECD regions -- Europe, Asia Oceania and Americas, the IEA said.

Refinery runs were above forecast, "suggesting that maintenance works started later than expected and this factor contributes to a lower estimate for October runs."

The delayed maintenance was attributed to "extraordinary refinery margin strength", which "likely encouraged refiners to maximize throughputs to the extent possible," the IEA said.

In Europe, refineries in Germany, including Gelsenkirchen, Holborn and MiRo, Gothenburg in Sweden and Stanlow and Pembroke in the UK, carried out works, according to S&P Global data.

Chinese refineries posted record throughput in September but seasonal maintenance is expected to "drag activity lower in October and November, while the lack of crude import quotas for independents is seen constraining activity levels

into year-end."

Middle East runs increased in September and October due to the ramp-up of Duqm, which offset regional maintenance.

The IEA estimated Russian runs at 5.4 million b/d in September, having fallen "ostensibly on planned maintenance work," the IEA said. October runs are likely to fall further to 5.2 million b/d "but we assume Russian runs rebound towards year-end," the IEA said.

Russian refinery maintenance started in August and peaked in September and October but is gradually winding down in November, with all works expected to finish by the end of the month, according to S&P Global data.