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Annual World Refining Outlook 2018 - The Golden Age of Refining Continues to Shine


A detailed assessment of the mid/long-term operating environment for global refining and the implications for products trade. We forecast product demand and review refinery investment to identify the likely pressures on the refining sector and what this could mean for refining margins in the next 5-10 years.

Despite the recent OPEC and non-OPEC production agreements, we continue to forecast a low price oil environment for the foreseeable future. Consequently, we expect products demand to be robust, especially for light distillates (naphtha and gasoline) but also for middle distillates too. At the same time CAPEX for investment in any part of the oil business will be limited, with refining investment continuing to be under pressure. While there are many projects announced in the press, only a small percentage are actually built! Consequently, the pressure on existing capacity and what is actually built is increasing. There is plenty of potential for the strong cracks and margins seen over the last 2 years or more to continue. In this study we look at this potential, what the main drivers are and how long it could last for.

Refiners are continuing to invest in sophisticated upgrading capacity, essentially converting fuel oil into gasoline and distillate. Recent and imminent new capacity has focused on distillate production in particular. But has the low crude price environment resulted in a shift towards gasoline and if so, how long will this last for?

2020 will see the biggest ever change to the demand barrel with the introduction of new specifications for bunker fuel oil (to 0.5%S max without flue gas mitigation) for the world’s marine fleet. We look at how refiners and the fleet will react to this, the implications for distillate and fuel oil demand and balances, product cracks and refinery margins. Will there be enough refining capacity? Is there enough distillate available? What will happen to product prices, especially for fuel oil?


Scope of Coverage

Key Areas Addressed in This Study
  • How will products demand evolve in a long-lasting low crude oil price environment?
  • How might refinery investments develop over the next 5-10 years?
  • How are refiners responding to the IMO 2020 bunker fuel spec changes?
  • How does refinery capacity match up to products demand? Has the need for refinery capacity closure passed? Indeed, do we need to build more capacity?
  • How will product trade flows develop?
  • What will happen to refinery margins over the next 5-10 years?
  • Download the latest brochure to find out more
  • A review of the global oil market outlook
  • Changes from our last Annual World Refining Outlook
  • An assessment of refinery capacity additions
  • How a global product supply/demand balance is likely to be achieved
  • A review of the implications and possible outcomes of the IMO bunker fuel specification changes in 2020
  • Download the latest brochure to find out more
Products Covered
  • LPG
  • Naphtha
  • Gasoline
  • Jet/Kero
  • Gasoil
  • Fuel Oil
  • (for the key global refining regions from 2012 to 2030) 

Interested in finding out more?

Further information on this study can be found by downloading our latest brochure.


Download Brochure


  • PDF copy of the report (PowerPoint layout).
  • All associated tables available in Excel.
  • FGE will be available for a conference call, WebEx meeting, or general meeting to present and discuss the key findings of this report.
  • A PowerPoint Executive Presentation pack, providing clients with a visual summary of the key coverage and conclusions, accompanied by bullet point explanations.

This Study will add value to

Downstream Operators

  • Needing a perspective on the extent to which the emerging pressures on their business emanate from local or international sources.

Integrated Companies

  • Seeking an outside perspective on the likely future economic operating environment of the sector.


  • Looking for input in assessing their portfolio strategies.

Products Traders

  • Trying to identify emerging underlying shifts in trade flows.

Crude Oil Producers

  • Looking for changing trends in crude oil demand, prices, and quality considerations.

Shipping Operators

  • Conducting analysis of potential tanker demand, also reviewing the overall implications of the new IMO bunker regulations.

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Further Information

If you require additional information on this or any FGE service, including requesting a trial, or you would like to discuss ways in which FGE can assist you further, please contact a member of our sales team:

Mr. Robert Beckmann - Singapore

Head of Business Development
Tel: +65 6222 0045

Email Robert

Mr. Edo Ndeke - London

Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7726 9570

Email Edo

Mr. Farhan Sulaiman - Singapore

Business Development Manager
Tel: +65 6222 0045

Email Farhan

Mr. Lance Ruxton - London

Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7726 9570

Email Lance

Ms. Iren Naseri - Dubai, UAE

Business Development Manager
Tel: +971 4 457 4270

Email Iren

Mr. TJ Braziel - Houston, TX

Business Development Manager
Tel: +1 (281) 819 1983

Email TJ

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