Total petroleum deliveries, a measure of consumer demand, in December rose by 1.1% from December 2014 to average nearly 19.7 million bpd, according to API’s Monthly Statistical Report for December 2015. These were the highest December deliveries in 5 years.
“Low prices have helped drive demand for oil and gasoline over the last year,” said API Chief Economist Erica Bowman. “In fact, demand for gasoline last month was the highest December in eight years.”
In December, total motor gasoline deliveries rose 2% from December 2014 to average just above 9.1 million bpd. Distillate deliveries decreased by 12.7% compared with December 2014 to average 3.6 million bbls.
US crude oil production in December averaged just below 9.3 million bpd, down 1.4% compared with December 2014. December crude oil output remains the second highest output level for the month of December in 43 years, since 1972. Natural gas liquids (NGL) production, a co-product of natural gas production, averaged nearly 3.4 million bpd, the highest production for the month on December on record. NGL production in December was 6.5% higher than year ago levels.
US total petroleum imports increased from the prior year, rising 0.9%. However, total petroleum imports remain the second lowest imports for the month of December since 1997, averaging nearly 9.5 million bpd in December. Meanwhile, crude oil imports were up 4.6% compared with the prior year to 7.6 million bpd.
US gross refinery inputs fell 0.1% from December 2014. At 4.7 million bpd, exports of refined petroleum products were down 3.2% from December 2014. Gasoline production in December was the second highest output for the month of December, averaging 9.7 million bpd. This was down 2% from December 2014. At 5.1 million bpd, distillate production was down 3.7% compared to the prior year.
The refinery capacity utilisation rate averaged 92.4% in December, down 1.6 percentage points lower than year ago levels. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 18.125 million bpd, up 1.8% from last year’s capacity of 17.811 million bpd.
Crude oil stocks reached their highest inventory level for the month of December since 1930. At nearly 484.0 million bbls, crude stocks were up 23% or 90.6 million bbls higher than December 2014. Stocks of motor gasoline were down 4.7% from December 2014 to 229.0 million bbls. Distillate fuel oil stocks were up 14.7% from year ago levels and ended at 156.3 million bbls – the highest inventory level for the month in 5 years, since 2010. Jet fuel stocks were up 5.8% from the prior year. Stocks of ‘other oils’ were up from year ago levels. Total inventories of all oils were up by 11.8% from year ago levels.
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million US jobs and 8% of the US economy.
Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle
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