Digital Annual Report

Downstream

ExxonMobil's Downstream is one of the world's largest manufacturers and marketers of fuels and lubricants. 

$6 billion

in earnings, supported by North American integration
Successfully completed

3 key

refinery projects
Highgraded portfolio with

>$1 billion

in asset sales proceeds
At our Antwerp, Belgium, refinery, we started operations of a new 50,000-barrel-per-day delayed coker in 2018 to upgrade heavy residual products into higher-value fuels.

Business fundamentals

Global demand for fuels and lubricant products is directly linked to economic activity. Fuel demand for commercial transportation is expected to increase over the next two decades, driven by diesel and jet fuel, while worldwide gasoline demand will likely peak and then begin declining with increasing fuel efficiency and electric vehicle penetration.

Finished lubricant demand is expected to grow, with high-value synthetic lubricants significantly outpacing industry growth. Demand for higher-value grades of lube basestocks will grow by approximately 30 percent by 2025, as consumer preferences for higher-performing finished lubricants products increases.

Competitive advantages

A long-standing history of catalyst and process technology leadership underpins project returns of more than 20 percent on average and the development of high-quality products like Mobil 1, Synergy, and Diesel Efficient. Through application of technology, we have a strong portfolio of advantaged manufacturing sites in key demand centers globally, supported by a rich product and marketing offer, with market leadership in synthetic lubricants.

We operate some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the industry, with a total processing capacity of 4.7 million barrels per day. Leveraging our global scale and technology investments, we are now the largest Group I and Group II basestocks producer globally, which helps ensure product integrity and reliable global supply of consistent and innovative lube basestocks.

Integration across Upstream, Downstream, and Chemical business lines enables us to lower production costs and ensures molecules are upgraded to their highest possible value. Leveraging our Upstream position in the Permian, we are capturing value along the value chain through investments in light-crude capacity processing at our U.S. Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities, and in logistics to efficiently move crude domestically and internationally.

Combining functional excellence with scale and integration, our worldwide refining cash operating costs are 15 percent lower than the industry average. In addition, our project development and execution capabilities enable us to invest in existing refineries at less-than-grassroots project costs and integrate new technologies into existing plants, such as the addition of new light-crude capacity at the Beaumont refinery and the introduction of the advanced hydrocracker in Rotterdam.

Critical anchor positions in the Downstream business are filled by highly skilled people with in-depth technical knowledge, demonstrated leadership, and significant institutional knowledge. These 2,800 employees are coaches and mentors to their functional teams and serve important roles in supporting safe and reliable operations at our facilities.

Downstream statistical recap

 
  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Earnings (millions of dollars) 6,010 5,597 4,201 6,557 3.045
Refinery throughput (thousands of barrels per day) 4,272 4,291 4,269 4,432 4,476
Petroleum product sales(1) (thousands of barrels per day) 5,512 5,530 5,482 5,754 5,875
Average capital employed(2) (millions of dollars) 25,740 22,514 21,804 23,253 23,977
Return on average capital employed(2) (percent) 23.3 24.9 19.3 28.2 12.7
Capital expenditures(2) (millions of dollars) 3,429 2,524 2,462 2,613 3,034

(1) Petroleum product sales data reported net of purchases/sales contracts with the same counterparty.
(2) See Frequently used terms