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Petroleum demand in 2011

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Total petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) fell 1.2% to an average of 18.9 million bpd in 2011 compared with 2010. Except for 2008, this was the largest drop in annual domestic deliveries over the past decade. December 2011 petroleum deliveries were down 5.9% from December 2010, declining to an average of 18.6 million bpd, the lowest level in 15 years. Gasoline deliveries showed declines for 2011 as a whole and for the month of December.

‘The weakness in gasoline demand in 2011 reflected the overall weakness in consumer spending,’ said API chief economist John Felmy. ‘This carried through the year, with retails sales down in December and gasoline demand slipping more than 4% for the month.’

Despite the decline in demand for refined products, supplies remained ample, with gasoline production for the year averaging a record high of 9.1 million bpd, up 0.5% over 2010. Distillate production at 4.5 million bpd was up 6.1% for the year. Refinery product imports decreased 14% for the year and were down more than 33% for December.

Total petroleum exports (almost all of which were product exports) were up 25.5% in 2011 compared with 2010.

Crude production rose 2.5% in 2011 to an average of 5.6 million bpd. In December, crude oil production rose by 0.5% to an eight year high for the month. The total number or oil and gas rigs stayed above 2000 for the month, according to the latest Baker Hughes Inc. report, and average, 1875 for the year, a three year high.

Crude oil stocks ended the year slightly up from 2010 and were at a 17 year high for December. Motor gasoline stocks were up in December 2011 from the prior month. Distillate stocks fell to a five year low in December.

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