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Will South Korea cut refinery runs for the rest of 2014?


South Korea's refinery runs stood at 25 mmb/d in July, up 4.9% from a year ago and the highest level in 2014.

However, this y-on-y increase obscures the fact that the country's run rates were in a slump for most of 2013, and the latest values are down from 2 years before. Korean refiners have a much lighter maintenance schedule for 2014 compared to 2013, and while this should point to higher run rates in 2014, year-to-date values are down from last year. With weak demand pressuring regional refining margins compared to previous years, Korean refiners, who are increasingly sensitive to margins, will likely cut runs in August and keep them subdued for the rest of the year.


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