Phillips 66 Sees Global Fuel-Market Growth Even as US Demand Plateaus
03.28.2024 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

March 28, 2024 [Bloomberg]- Phillips 66, the No. 2 US oil refiner, expects global demand for motor fuels to grow for years even as gasoline usage in the US market begins to plateau.


The company that exports gasoline, diesel and jet fuel around the world is banking on roughly 2% annual increases in global fuel demand, Chief Executive Officer Mark Lashier said in a meeting with reporters on Tuesday. 


“The fundamentals for refining are quite good,” Lashier said. 


After inflation hurt gasoline demand last year, US pump prices this summer are expected to climb to the highest since mid-2022 to $4 a gallon, according to AAA. But Phillips 66 said earlier this month that US and global economies are holding up relatively well and that trucking activity was picking up.


Phillips 66 is also working to address strategic and governance concerns raised by activist-investor Elliott Investment Management.


Upon disclosing a $1 billion stake in the fuel maker late last year, the investment firm controlled by billionaire Paul Singer said Phillips 66 could boost its stock price 75% by focusing more on refining and taking other measures. 


Since then, Phillips 66 shares have advanced by roughly one-third. Despite the advance, Phillips 66 shares have trailed rivals Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. on a year-to-date basis.


“They’ve bought into our plans that we already had in place,” Lashier said of Elliott executives. “I’m pleased and happy and proud of the progress we’re making, but I’m never going to be satisfied; there’s always more to do.”


The oil refiner has added one new board member and is working with Elliott to name a second director. Lashier said Tuesday it will be someone with more diverse experience, not necessarily focused on the refining industry. He added that there’s no deadline for naming the next board member, other than “when we find the right one.”


Lashier, who was appointed CEO less than two years ago, will also become chairman prior to the company’s annual meeting in May. He began his career in 1989 as an associate research engineer for Phillips Petroleum Co., which later merged with Conoco Inc. The refiner was spun off from the oil explorer in 2012.


Phillips 66 is now in the midst of a 2.5-year plan to return as much as $15 billion to shareholders by the end of this year through moves such as cost cuts and performance improvements. 


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