A snapshot of ExxonMobil’s refining operations



ExxonMobil’s refining operations

In this part of the series, we’ll discuss how ExxonMobil’s (XOM) massive refining operations performed over the last few years.

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Capacity, throughput, and utilization

ExxonMobil has the largest refining capacity of any one company in the world. Currently, its refining capacity is ~5.3 million barrels per day, or MMbbls/d.

Recently, the company reduced its capacity by approximately one million barrels per day, or bpd. ExxonMobil cited the reduction as “disciplined portfolio management.” Earlier, its refining capacity was around 6.3 MMbbls/d.

ExxonMobil’s refinery throughput—the actual amount of petroleum passing through its refineries—also saw a drop of approximately one million bpd over the years. So, its refining assets’ utilization rate remained in a relatively narrow range. The utilization rate remained in the high 80s.

It refined ~4.6 MMbbls/d of petroleum in 3Q14. For context, fellow “supermajors” include Chevron (CVX), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDS.A), BP (BP), and Total S.A. (TOT). They reported throughputs of ~1.76 MMbbls/d, 2.9 MMbbls/d, 1.7 MMbbls/d, and 1.9 MMbbls/d, respectively, in the same quarter.

ExxonMobil and Chevron are two American integrated companies. They’re the top two holdings of the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE). The ETF is a great way to gain diversified exposure to these companies. The ETF can also provide investors with access to other American energy companies.

Analyzing outputs

Analyzing ExxonMobil’s broad refining outputs, it looks like the company maintained a steady share of outputs for major products. Over the past few years, high-value gasoline accounted for almost 50% of its refining output.


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