API: U.S. Petroleum Demand Near Its Highest Levels In 11 Years

According to the latest monthly report by the American Petroleum Institute (API), U.S. petroleum demand hit 20.3 million bpd in February, up by more than a million bpd from February of last year and nearing record highs not seen for more than a decade.

“The economy and energy demand have continued to show solid momentum so far in 2018,” said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman. “With U.S. oil and NGL production at record levels – and a resilient industry value chain that has absorbed the growth – consumers are benefiting from this momentum and enjoying affordable and reliable fuels made right here at home.”

The strength in U.S. petroleum demand is consistent with indicators that the macroeconomic backdrop has remained solid. However, crude prices declined in February after seven consecutive monthly increases. International crude oil prices fell by more than domestic ones (5.4 percent m/m for Brent versus 2.3 percent m/m for WTI) in February. WTI crude oil prices averaged $62.23 per barrel, while Brent averaged $65.32 per barrel for the month.

At these prices in February, U.S. supply achieved new highs for production of crude oil (10.3 million bpd) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) (4.1 million bpd). U.S. refineries also processed crude and other feedstocks (16.4 million bpd) at record levels for the month, which displaced petroleum imports other than a seasonal winter need for distillate.

In addition, the U.S. rig count climbed to 984 rigs as of March 9 and has averaged 959 rigs through Q1 2018, representing an increase of 4.0 percent above the average for Q4 2017.

Other key findings from the report: 

  • Gasoline demand eclipsed 9.0 million bpd for only the third time ever
  • Winter weather spurred February distillate demand growth
  • Fuel oil demand rebounded with cold seasonal winter weather
  • Despite a monthly decline, jet fuel demand was the strongest for February since 2007
  • New dual records for U.S. oil and NGL production
  • Rising crude oil exports more than offset a fall in U.S. refined product exports
  • Gasoline and jet fuel production led record February refinery output

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