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API: Petroleum demand rose in March

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, rose 0.4% in March from March 2015 to average 19.3 million bpd. These were the highest March deliveries in eight years, since 2008. Total motor gasoline deliveries, a measure of consumer demand, rose 2.2% from March 2015. Distillate deliveries fell 11.3% to average just below 3.6 million bpd.

“Historically low gasoline prices continued to drive strong demand for gasoline in March,” said Erica Bowman, API Chief Economist. “In fact, demand for gasoline in March was the highest ever recorded for the month.”

At just below 9 million bpd, US crude oil production decreased by 6.8% from March 2015 but remained the second highest March production level in 30 years, since 1986. Natural gas liquids production in March averaged nearly 3.4 million bpd, which was the highest level for the month on record.

US total petroleum imports in March averaged nearly 10 million bpd. This was the highest total petroleum imports level for any month since September 2013.

At an average of 9.7 million bpd, production of gasoline in March was the highest ever for the month, up 1.6% from March 2015. Production of distillate fuel in March fell 1.2% from year ago levels to average 4.8 million bpd but remained the second highest March output level on record.

Refinery gross inputs rose by 2.8% from last year to a record high for the month at 16.3 million bpd. Production of all four major products: gasoline, distillate, jet fuel and residual fuels, were higher than deliveries for those products, so refined petroleum products were exported. Exports of refined petroleum products were up from the prior year. The refinery capacity utilisation rate averaged 89.5% in March. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 18.125 million bpd, up 341 000 bpd from last year’s capacity of 17.874 million bpd.

Crude oil stocks ended in March at 530.1 million bbls, the highest inventory level for the month in 86 years, since 1930. Crude stocks rose by 55.3 million bbls, or up 11.6% from the prior year. Stocks of total motor gasoline rose 5.4% from last year to 243.9 million bbls in March. These were the highest stocks for the month in 34 years, since 1982. Distillate fuel oil stocks rose 27.9% from the same period last year to end at 164.1 million bbls, the highest March inventory level in 35 years, since 1981. Jet fuel stocks rose 18.8% from the prior year to end at 44.2 million bbls. Stocks of ‘other oils’ rose from year ago levels.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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