U.S. oil refiners are aiming to rise to approximately 94% of their oil-producing capacity this quarter, numerous company forecasts and analysts have reported. The current oil production capacity stands at 17.9 million barrels per day.
This rise in production is largely driven by expectations of a rise in seasonal travel demand. Motorist group AAA reported on Monday that it expects the May 27-29 Memorial Day holiday to be the third busiest for auto travel since 2000. In addition, the AAA expects it to be the busiest weekend at U.S. airports since 2005.
Prior to the release of the incoming forecasts, oil production had already been raised after refiners were encouraged to do so by a rise in prices and demand since late 2021. In response to such signs, refiners rose their production capacities to over 90%, while two refiners built new units or enhanced their output.
This quarter’s rise in capacity usage is comparable to the 91.3% utilization during the same quarter last year and the 71.5% and 87.8% run-rates in 2020 and 2021, when pandemic-induced lockdowns led to a reduction in fuel consumption.