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The Refining Industry in the North Atlantic

By 1993, refining capacity in Western Europe and North America was about in line with demand. The massive surplus in capacity evident in the early 1980s had been eliminated by reductions in capacity and increases in demand. This rebalancing, together with changes in the structure of crude pricing have, laid the basis for a more sound economic performance than has been the case, hitherto. Against this background there is a substantial investment requirement in the coming years, both positive, to take account of new business opportunities, and negative, needed just to stay in business. These latter investments stem from environmental legislation, tightening the specifications required both for finished products and operations of refineries. These requirements, coming on top of the poor profit performance of the last ten years have led to continued rationalisation by the industry despite evidence of emerging bottlenecks.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Refining and Products

JEL Codes: L71: Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels, Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q42: Alternative Energy Sources, D24: Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity, G31: Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies; Capacity, Q53: Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

Keywords: Oil refining, North America Europe, investment

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol15-NoSI-10

Published in Volume 15, Special Issue of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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