NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 02/01/13 -- The Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing Industry experienced an impressive revival in 2012 as access to large supplies of North American crude have helped improved refiners profit margins. Bloomberg's S&P's Supercomposite Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing Index (S15OILR) has gained nearly 80 percent in the past year. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing Industry and provides equity research on Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX).
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The emergence of hydraulic fracturing has unlocked large reserves of oil that were previously inaccessible. Access to these reserves has made North American crude a viable option for refiners. As of last Friday, U.S. West Texas Intermediate at Cushing, Oklahoma was priced at roughly $96 a barrel, nearly $20 less a barrel than the international benchmark Brent crude.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier this month reported that oil production in the U.S. surpassed the 7 million barrels per day mark, which is the highest level in nearly 20 years. The EIA forecasts U.S. oil production will increase an additional 14 percent in 2013.
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Marathon Petroleum is the nation's fifth-largest refiner, with a crude oil refining capacity of approximately 1.2 million barrels per calendar day in its six-refinery system. Shares of the company on Wednesday reached a new 52-week high of $73.40 after reporting strong fourth quarter results. Marathon reported fourth quarter earnings of $755 million, compared with a loss of $75 million in the year ago quarter.
Phillips 66's Refining and Marketing operations include 15 refineries with a net crude oil capacity of 2.2 million barrels per day, 10,000 owned or supplied branded marketing outlets, and 15,000 miles of pipeline systems. Shares of the company also reached a new 52-week of $62.91 after reporting earnings of $708 million in the fourth quarter.
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