US petroleum demand strengthened for all key refined products in September, indicating a shift from economic stagnation to economic recovery, according to the American Petroleum Industry’s (API) Monthly Statistical Report for September.
September distillate deliveries surged 6.9% compared with September 2009, driven by a robust demand recovery in ultra low sulfur distillates, the type used for on highway fuel, indicating a bounce in industrial activity toward the end of the third quarter. September ULSD deliveries averaged 3.1 million bpd, up 9.4% from the same month a year ago. For the first nine months of 2010, ULSD deliveries averaged 2.95 million bpd, a 2.4% increase over the first nine months of 2009.
‘The September data suggests a move toward economic recovery,’ observed API Chief Economist John Felmy. ‘Stronger distillate demand indicates an uptick in industrial activity, while stronger jet fuel and gasoline demand point to increased business and consumer confidence.’ Jet fuel demand in September jumped 11.6% from 2009 to average 1.6 million bpd, while September total gasoline demand ticked up 0.1% over the same month a year ago to average 8.9 million bpd.
US crude oil stocks stood at 363.1 million bbls at the end of September, 8.4% higher than 2009. But distillate fuel oil stocks were lower than a year ago. Moving into the winter heating season, total distillate inventories stood at 167.9 million bbls at end September, down 2.8% from last year, with high sulfur distillate, which includes heating oil, down 3.1% from a year ago, at 50.2 million bbls. Compared with the five year average, end September distillate inventories were up 18%, while high sulfur distillate inventories were down by 1.7%.
While September refinery inputs slipped 1.2% from the September 2009, production for all petroleum products, except residual fuel oils, continued to grow. Gasoline output was up by 1.7%, and at 9 million bpd, was the highest level on record for any September. Distillate fuel production rose 2.7% from September 2009.
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