Variable cash margin

Variable cash margin is one common measure of refinery margin or economic performance.

Variable cash margin is typically calculated per barrel of crude oil processed and is equal to the gross margin, less variable costs such as energy, catalyst, and chemicals. Variable cash margin does not account for labor, materials, or other fixed costs.

Variable cash margin is the metric most useful in assessing the value of adjusting utilization of the refinery in the short term, as it takes into account all of the elements of profit that change with different utilization. Consequently, it is the key measure of profitability against which the LP model will optimize.

McKinsey uses cookies to improve site functionality, provide you with a better browsing experience, and to enable our partners to advertise to you. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this Site, and how you can decline them, is provided in our cookie policy. By using this Site or clicking on "OK", you consent to the use of cookies.