U.S crude runs took a modest step backward during the week that ended May 5. Following two weeks of sky-high crude run levels, a spike in refinery turnaround activity in PADD 2 was the main driver of a 418,000 barrel-per-day (BBL/d) drop-off in overall crude throughput. Even so, U.S. crude runs remain well above the seasonal range, and after this one-week aberration, should move higher in the coming weeks.

An unplanned outage at the 185,000-BBL/d crude unit at the WRB Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois, doubled PADD 2 maintenance turnarounds for the week, and sent throughput 231,000 BBL/d lower than the prior period. PADD 2 throughput had been trending well above the seasonal range for the spring season, but this week’s data point moved well below the previous high that was reached in 2015. Throughput during the in the U.S., as a whole, has been mostly spared of any sudden unplanned refinery outages at major crude units. This week’s outage at Wood River shows how a one-time event can have a massive impact on regional crude runs. Fortunately, this maintenance turnaround lasted only a week and PADD 2 crude runs are expected to jump back up above the seasonal range in time for next Wednesday’s stats release.

While the magnitude of the throughput change was much different than PADD 2, in terms of a percentage change, PADD 4 was also a difference maker last week. The onset of crude distillery unit (CDU) work at Phillips 66’s Billings, Montana, refinery was influential in sending PADD 4 crude runs down by more than 4% for the week. The unit is expected to be offline for the next six weeks.

PADD 3 crude runs fell 171,000 BBl/d on the week, despite little change in overall turnaround activity. One could suggest that the runs during the prior two weeks were “too high” and that a correction was looming. Looking to the next several weeks, PADD 3 turnarounds move to a very low number ahead of the summer season. An improvement from today’s throughput number is expected.

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