The five refineries in the U.S. Pacific Northwest performed better in 2016 than rivals on the East or Gulf coasts for two main reasons. First, the changing pattern of North American crude supply has worked to their advantage. Faced with the threat of dwindling mainstay crude supplies from Alaska, refiners in Washington state replaced 22% of their slate with North Dakota Bakken crude shipped in by rail. They have also enjoyed advantaged access to discounted crude supplies from western Canada. Second, Northwest refiners face less competition for refined product customers than rivals on the East and Gulf coasts, meaning they have a captive market that often translates to higher margins. This
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