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Investing in Energy: A Primer on the Economics of the Energy Industry by Gianna Bern

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Refining Capacity, Complexity, and Utilization

Every refinery has a maximum capacity (or nameplate capacity) at which it can refine the barrels of raw crude into more valuable products, such as gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel. Refineries can also be compared on a scale referred to as the Nelson Index. The Nelson Index allows comparisons of smaller, less complex refineries which might be able to process up to 30,000 to 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) with the complex refineries that can process in excess of 200,000 bpd of both sweet and sour crudes. In the United States, ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery in Texas along with BP's Texas City refinery are two of the largest and most complex refineries, each capable of refining more than 400,000 bpd ...

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