As the global economy continues to expand, energy demands will grow with it and require the construction of new petrochemical refineries and revamping of existing refineries to meet that demand. This trend is not new, as refining capacity has grown steadily over the years in Russia, the Middle East, China, and elsewhere. Although the United States is the world leader in refining capacity, many refinery projects exist in other parts of the world. Announcements around new refinery construction projects are made frequently. For instance, China recently combined forces with Kuwait to build a $4.3 billion dollar petrochemical refinery complex in southern China. Another refinery is to be built in southern China in cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and ExxonMobil for in excess of $3 billion.
Many refinery projects are cropping up in India and their government is working with the Middle East oil powers to reduce tariffs and increase oil imports to India for petrochemical refining. Also, refineries in Africa are revamping to ensure a reliable and affordable energy supply for future development.
The U.S. isn’t sitting on its hands either. ConocoPhillips and partners recently expanded the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois, which is capable of refining 306,000 barrel/day. The $3.6 billion joint venture took approximately three years to complete and now converts heavy residual oil and oil-sands bitumen into lighter oil and gases. The project employed up to 2,500 people during the peak of construction.
All of this will result in a massive increase in refinery jobs in those countries as well as for Americans wishing to work abroad.