Thursday, February 21, 2013

API: January petroleum demand in US lowest in 18 years

Total US petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) were down 1.7% for January against the same month a year ago to just under 18 million barrels per day-the lowest level for the month in 18 years, according to figures from the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The January numbers reprise last year's theme of weak demand. This isn't surprising given an economy that's still treading water."

-API Chief Economist John Felmy

Gasoline deliveries were up for the month by 2.4% while distillates fell by 6.0%, driven by the relative weakness of ultra-low-sulfur distillate deliveries (down by 4.4% from January 2012). January demand was also down for kerosine jet fuel by 0.5% and for residual fuel oil by 26%, although it rose for other oils by 0.6%.

Refinery gross inputs fell below 15.0 million barrels per day for the first time in nine months. Production of all major refined products-gasoline, distillates, jet fuel, and residual fuels-was higher than demand, so products were exported, with an overall increase of 14.2% in January compared with the same month in 2012. Gasoline production fell 2.7% from the prior month while distillate fuel production, though falling from December 2012, was the highest ever for the month of January. Kerosine-jet production and residual fuel production both declined compared with January one year ago.

In January, total imports were at their lowest level for the month in 13 years, since 2000. Total imports averaged nearly 10.4 million barrels per day, down 5.4% from January 2012. Crude oil imports were at their lowest January level in 13 years, and refined product imports were at their lowest level for the month in 14 years, since 1999.

The refinery utilization rate averaged 85.9% for January, down 4.9% from the prior month and 0.1% from January 2012. API's latest refinery operable capacity was 17.398 million barrels per day (in December).

Total US crude oil production in January rose above 7.0 million barrels per day for the first time in more than 20 years (and marked the highest January output in 21 years). Year-over-year increases in domestic crude oil production have occurred for 16 straight months.

The number of oil and gas rigs decreased from 1,784 in December to 1,756 in January, according to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., and has stayed below 2,000 for 13 straight months.


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