Here is nice recap of decline in Refining industry using Sunoco Tulsa & Oklahoma as the example & history. But the question is not “IF” more US refineries close but how many & what is capacity threshold now (-75k,-100k,-150k??).
Crude awakening: Refinery status part of trend
The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: December 21, 2008
Sunoco has been shopping its Tulsa refinery since May, hoping to find a buyer to keep the place running. If no buyer is found, the refinery could close or be turned into an oil terminal. Either way, the state will lose jobs and revenue from a significant industrial operation.
Two trends are seen in this development. One is a continuation of the historic decline in oil refineries in Oklahoma, a state whose crude oil production falls lower every year. The other trend is nationwide and involves refineries struggling to maintain profit margins in the face of declining oil prices.
Just six months ago, improving the status of refiners was seen as a way to shore up supply problems and avoid some of the volatility of gasoline prices. Building more refineries and improving existing ones was promoted as a temporary cure, if not a panacea, for the kind of supply disruptions that spike gas prices in some areas while not affecting them in others.
Sunoco has set a timetable of late next year for disposition of its Tulsa refinery. In the early 1980s, Oklahoma had 13 refineries. By 2005, the number was down to five.
Oklahoma refineries made very little money between 1981 and 2000. Things then improved, but profits are again in peril. If more refineries are closed during the current downturn, the next global economic boom will create supply problems worse than what we’ve seen since 2001.
And the state can do little but sit back and watch.