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Petroleum demand down in February

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), total US petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) fell 0.6% from February 2013, averaging 18.5 million bpd last month. This is the lowest February level since 1998.

Demand for gasoline decreased 0.2% from February 2013, but gained 1.1% from January to average close to 8.4 million bpd. Demand also fell for residual fuel (14.4%), distillate (3.6%), and jet fuel (1.9%) compared with the prior year. Jet fuel deliveries were at their lowest level for February in 22 years.

API Chief Economist John Felmy commented: ‘Cold weather tends to have a dampening effect on the economy, which helped reduce demand for many types of fuel in February. Of course, low temperatures have the opposite effect on demand for propane and heating oil’.

Although overall deliveries of distillate were down in February, demand for high sulfur distillate fuel oil, which is used for heating, rose 18.1% from the prior year. Meanwhile, demand for ‘other oils’ increased 6.1% on year ago levels, driven by strong propane demand. ‘Other oils’ including liquid petrochemical feedstocks, naphtha, gasoil, and propane were 25.8% of total petroleum deliveries.

Crude oil production increased 12.5% in February 2013, but was down slightly by 0.8% from January. Crude stocks ended the month at 364.8 million bbls, down 5.2% from 2012, but still the second highest February inventory level.

Production of gasoline and distillate fuel both hit record highs for the month. Compared to last year, gasoline production increased 3.5% and distillate production rose 9.2%, reaching 9.1 million bpd and 4.7 million bpd respectively.

Stocks of motor gasoline were up 0.2% from last year at 227.4 million bbls. Distillate fuel oil stocks were down 6.7% from year ago levels at 113.7 million bbls, the lowest February inventory level in 10 years.

Total imports average 9.0 million bpd in February, down 2,3% from 2012 and the lowest level since 1996. Crude oil imports increased 1.7% from February 2013, to 7.4 million bpd. Meanwhile, imports of refined products decreased 17.2% to 1.6 million bpd, the lowest level for the month since 1991.

Refinery gross inputs rose 6.7% from last year to a high of 15.5 million bpd. Exports of refined petroleum products increased 24.2% from February 2013, reaching 4.0 million bpd. This is the second highest level on record.

Refinery capacity utilisation rate averaged 87.1% in February, down 1.5% from January but 5.4% higher than the same time last year. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.816 million bpd.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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