According to IIR Energy's David Elpers, the spring turnaround season already is in full force at U.S. refineries, and it may have already peaked. The findings are based on a recent analysis of U.S. crude runs and data from last week's report from the U.S. Department of Energy.

This week’s stats showed a substantial drop in crude throughput of 586,000 barrels per day (BBL/d). PADD 3 fell 238,000 BBL/d, but PADD 1 (-197,000 BBL/d) and PADD 2 (-161,000 BBL/d) also posted major losses for the week.

IIR Energy has been predicting the rapid arrival of the spring turnaround season for several weeks, and that prediction is now a reality. For most PADDs, we expect crude runs to remain around these levels for the next four weeks before conditions begin to improve.

The biggest wild card will be the impact of the polar vortex on refining capabilities in PADD 2. The sudden freeze likely will slow operations at refineries in the upper Midwest down to the Chicago area (Joliet, Whiting). IIR Energy will closely monitor the situation as the weather system moves through the region.

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