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Petroleum demand down in September

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), total US petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) decreased by 3.5% from September 2013 to average 18.6 million bpd last month. For the third quarter, petroleum demand fell by 0.9% from the same period last year.

API Chief Economist John Felmy commented: “The gap between US petroleum production and demand continued to trend higher last month. Strong production of crude and petroleum products coupled with soft demand is a classic recipe for the market movements that have generated headlines in recent weeks”.

Gasoline demand fell 3% from September 2013 to average nearly 8.7 million bpd and distillate deliveries decreased by 2.6% to approximately 3.6 million bpd. Over the same period, jet fuel demand dropped 2.9% to the lowest level for the month in 21 years while residual fuel set a new September low with 44.6% decline. ‘Other oils’, which accounted for 25.4% of total deliveries, showed an increase of 1% over year ago levels.

Domestic crude oil production reached the highest September level in 29 years, increasing 13.7% from last year to 8.8 million bpd. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) reached a new all time high of 3.1 million bpd, rising 11.1% over the same period.

According to the latest reports from Baker Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the US in September was 1930, up from the August count of 1904 and from September 2013’s count of 1760. This was the highest count since July 2012.

US total petroleum imports fell to their lowest since February 1995, averaging just below 8.4 million bpd. This represents a drop of 16.3% on the previous year. Crude oil imports averaged 7.4 million bpd, down 6.7% over the same period to the lowest September level in 18 years. Meanwhile, imports of refined petroleum products dropped 52.5% to average 1 million bpd, the lowest level for EIA records dating to 1981.

The API reports that refinery gross imports gained 1.2% from last year to a new September record just above 16.3 million bpd. Gasoline production was at the lowest level since February, but was 2.7% higher than the prior year to set a new record for the month of September at 9.4 million bpd. Exports of refined petroleum products increased by 18.4% from last year to nearly 4.3 million bpd. This was the highest September level on record and was also the third highest exports level ever recorded.

The refinery capital utilisation rate averaged 91.7% in September, down 1.2% from August but up 1% from the same period last year. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.833 million bpd.

Crude oil stocks ended September at 359 million bbls, down 3.8% from last year. Stocks of motor gasoline ended down by 4.3% from last year to 210.3 million bbls. Distillate and jet fuel stocks were both down from year ago levels while stocks of ‘other oils’ were up over the same period.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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