WHITING, Ind., HOUSTON, and PASCAGOULA, Miss. - With United States demand for gasoline and other petroleum products continuing to increase, at least three major oil companies are planning to significantly expand their refineries in the U.S.

BP announced a $3 billion plan to expand its Whiting, Ind., plant to increase its production capacity by 15 percent, which equals about 1.7 million additional gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each day. However, the main focus of the Indiana project is to allow the refinery to process heavy crude oil from Canadian oil sands.

Marathon Oil Co. is also considering modifying its refineries in Detroit and Catlettsburg, Ky., to handle Canadian heavy crude oil. Marathon has also approved a $3.2 billion project to increase the capacity of its Garyville, La., refinery by nearly three quarters, to a total capacity of 425,000 barrels of oil per day.

Chevron Corp. has joined in as well, announcing plans to expand its refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., by about 15 percent, boosting gasoline production by 750,000 gallons per day.

BP and Marathon plan to begin construction next year, while Chevron is aiming at 2008.

Publication date: 11/27/2006