Where Are the Refineries?

Source: “PADDs 1 and 3 Transportation Fuels Markets,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, February 2016

In news that must surely come as a shocking surprise to the Trump administration, Bloomberg reports that last year, Mexico “relied on U.S. gasoline … for nearly 50 percent of its total consumption as refineries operated by state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos … malfunctioned.” In the final month of 2016, the country “imported a record high of 1.2 million barrels a day of U.S. fuels.”

How many of those barrels were imported from New Mexico’s refineries? Zero.

While the Land of Enchantment produces over 400,000 barrels per day of crude (more than double the figure for 2010), its refining capacity is just 127,500 barrels per day. And the state’s two refineries — one in Gallup, one in Artesia — don’t ship a single barrel of petroleum products south.

As the the map above depicts, infrastructure is an issue. New Mexico’s pipelines don’t do exports. Given Bloomberg’s finding that “the U.S. refining industry has shifted its game over the last five years, taking advantage of gaps left by struggling refiners in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” that’s a distressing reality.

The U.S. is experiencing a bit of a refinery boom. Four new facilities came online in 2015 — three in Texas, one in North Dakota. And Raven Petroleum is building a $500 million refinery east of Laredo that’s geared toward exports to Mexico.

Given its own reservoir of crude, as well as its proximity to other oil-producing states, New Mexico could be a refining powerhouse. So why isn’t it? Regulations, taxes, eco-hysteria-driven NIMBYism, a lack of a right-to-work law? Something for the state’s well-compensated advocates for “economic development” to ponder.