Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that it plans to inject $1 billion into its refining operations in Belgium.
This is shocking as the European refinery market is underperforming due to a lack of demand and competition from the US, which is exporting lower-cost fuel across the Atlantic due to the shale revolution.
Crude costs as low as 30% of total refining cost, when compared to 60% in Europe. The US increased its fuel exports to 35 million barrels a month, which is up from 3 million 10 years ago.
In Europe, several companies involved in refining are wrapping up operations. At the end of its 1Q of 2014, Royal Dutch Shell reported a $2.9 billion charge to its earnings, to incorporate the impact of write-downs on its refineries across Europe and Asia due to a poor refinery margin outlook. Its revenues from the downstream segment declined by 4.7% year-over-year (YoY) in FY13 to $403.7 billion; its net income dropped 28% YoY to $3.87 billion. Overall refinery across Europe has declined 6.2%. The continent had refining capacity of 13.8 billion barrels, which declined to 12.94 billion barrels at the end of 2013. Though demand for refined products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel also declined 11% from 8.7 billion barrels at the end of 2007 to 7.74 billion at the end of 2013.
Demand and supply for refined products have been impacted, and refining margins have shrunk, resulting in declining refining profits. The Northwestern European refinery margins stood at $15.49 a barrel, which bottomed to $6.13 a barrel at the end of 4Q 2013, a decline of 60.4% during the period.
Exxon Mobil s downstream segment s revenues declined 8.6% YoY to $312.1 billion; its earnings tumbled 73.8% YoY to $3.45 billion, due to tightening refining margins across the globe.