The refining industry has little to show for its investment in the 8-year battle to get relief on RIN costs. Though Big Oil is my career home, and refiners are my prime target customers, I must admit we seem over matched in this battle. It’s a familiar feeling for a fan of the Chicago Bears,…

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Any engineer attending a biofuels conference will notice an atmosphere filled with lawyers, accountants, lobbyists, and RINs traders. It is an interesting and educational but unfamiliar world for an engineer. Occasionally, her more familiar world of science, technology, and economics will pierce through. That happened Thursday at OPIS’ 13th Annual RFS RINs & Biofuels Forum…

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Investors and analysts are confused about how to interpret low refining margins being reported this year. Much of the confusion stems from the confusing topic of RINs. I believe the low margins indicate a more fundamental weakness in the performance of many US refineries, which is inability to make enough on-spec gasoline from crude; and…

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Last week, the US average retail octane value (premium – regular gasoline price differential) hit a new high of 71.4 cents/gallon. This is the difference in pump price between premium and regular gasoline. If you fill your tank with premium today, you will pay, on average, 71.4 cents/gallon more than if you use regular. Record…

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Strange things are happening in this refinery. Is anyone hurt? When will we have results of those catalyst analyses? What is really in those tanks? Where is my sister? Why does that French mathematician’s name keeps popping up everywhere? Who can I trust? When was the last time you read a novel all about an…

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An Aug. 16, 2021 article titled Phillips 66 Stock: Advantaged By Its Refining-Adjacent Businesses, by Laura Starks was published on seekingalpha.com. Below are excerpts of investors’ comments on seekingalpha.com Comment by Fwc3030 17 Aug. 2021, 7:31 AM Ms. Starks, Thank you for a well written over-view of Phillips. Your writing style is to be commended…

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Because octane can seem confusing, consider a more familiar commodity, wine. Imagine you own a vineyard. You produce wine for $4/bottle, distribute it in cases for $24/bottle and sell it in your shops for $34/bottle. Your margin is $20/bottle for case sales and $30/bottle for bottle sales. A neighbor makes identical wine and sells it…

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A sore point in US refiners’ 2021 earnings has been low “margin capture” rates. Margin capture refers to actual realized margin compared to a market-based benchmark margin. For example, this chart from Phillips 66 (PSX)’s 2nd quarter earnings conference call shows a market-based benchmark margin of $17.76/barrel (left tan bar), and an actual realized margin…

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In an eight-year battle over Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS), refiners have failed to get much relief from their RIN obligations. Last Friday, July 16, 2021, an appeals court rejected their latest effort. The core issue was the “pass-through theory”, which says refiners’ RIN costs are recaptured in the market prices of the gasoline and diesel…

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