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Chinese refiners are predicted to add the largest proportion of new refining capacity planned globally in 2014/2015, with the launch of a further 1.2 million bpd, according to a new report on the global refining and marketing (R&M) industry outlook published by Moody's.
Thanks to this capacity increase, the output of Chinese refined products will exceed domestic demand, suggesting that the country will ramp up exports. Meanwhile, substantial new capacity is also expected to go live in the Middle East, but developments in the region are less predictable since plans of state-owned companies are not always publicly available. However, the combined effect of expansions of Middle Eastern and Asian refineries might be felt in the United States as well, the report noted.
Overall, the analysis predicts that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the R&M sector are likely to remain volatile globally but on average they are expected to go up about eight percent through the second half of 2015.
Refiners in North America will still remain in a leading position, especially those located at the Gulf Coast. Their competitive advantage will persist thanks to cheaper feedstock and low natural gas prices. That is why the region is expected to see earnings go up by 10 percent or more through the same period.
At the other end of the scale, European refiners' earnings are predicted to remain flat and the region will have to plan a large-scale capacity rationalization to prevent margin erosion after 2015, Moody's concluded.