Refiners and integrated oil firms continue to struggle with low refining margins, as a part of global oil demand—jet fuel consumption—is still enormously depressed by international travel restrictions. Margins for middle distillates, which include jet fuel, have improved since the worst effect of the pandemic last year. But the crisis in the airline industry and the pressure on refiners to curb jet fuel supply amid still very low demand could accelerate permanent closures of refineries geared to produce more middle distillates than gasoline, especially in Europe and Asia. New refinery capacity in the Middle East and Asia also pressures older refineries, which yield more middle distillates, into risking permanent closures due to unprofitable or uncompetitive low-profit-margin operations. A current glut of diesel supply in Asia also depresses margins, while crude oil prices above $65 a barrel make raw materials more expensive. The COVID-19 shock to oil demand has already […]