Since the Great Recession of 2008, U.S. refining companies tend to opt for less capital-intensive projects over the mega-billion-dollar projects previously seen, and this will probably carry into 2017, according to Industrial Info's 2017 Global Industrial Outlook.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. gasoline consumption will average 9.31 million barrels per day (BBL/d) in 2016, the highest annual average gasoline consumption on record, and that 2017 will be comparable. Planned activity for revamps of fluid catalytic cracking units (FCCUs), which produce the majority of gasoline, are on the rise. In addition, Tier 3 emissions standards lower the sulfur content of gasoline to 10 parts per million beginning in January 2017. A number of projects are under way in order to comply, with most of the spending going toward modification of existing process units.

While there are still a number of grassroot refineries proposed in the U.S. and Canada, given the buildup of product inventories around the world, most of these projects have been delayed from previous years. Larger refineries probably will remain in a state of limbo. Proposals for new facilities are often smaller-scale, regionally based facilities that propose to take advantage of nearby feedstock location or lower transportation costs.

Most proposed capital projects at U.S. refineries aim to improve operational efficiencies, and this is what is expected for 2017. In addition, planned refinery maintenance turnaround activity forecasts suggest maintenance spending will increase in 2017.

To learn more about to what to expect in the Petroleum Refining Industry, as well as 11 other industries tracked by Industrial Info, check out our 2017 Global Industrial Outlook. Write-ups from our industry experts provide information on both North American and international sectors, as well as top-line economic forecasts for different world regions. Quarterly updated project spending statistics are broken down by industry, market region and budget type (capital or maintenance). Detailed assessments from Industrial Info's industry experts help explain how the data and information reflect broader industrial trends.

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