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API: US petroleum demand sustains highest level in 11 years

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has reported that, despite higher prices, the first four months of 2018 saw US petroleum demand average 750 000 bpd above the same period in 2017 – a sign of solid economic activity. April also saw the US produce a record 10.5 million bpd of oil.

“Iranian oil supply uncertainty has recently dominated global oil market news, but a key figure from the US should trump that concern: two million barrels per day of US production,” said API Chief Economist, Dean Foreman. “The strong supply figure was also backed by strong petroleum demand of over 20.3 million bpd last month, motor gasoline demand for first four months of 2018 was the second highest on record. Economic fundamentals continue to propel petroleum markets at home and abroad.”

Consumer gasoline demand, as measured by total motor gasoline deliveries, of 9.3 million bpd in April was up by 1.3% from March and 1.1% vs April 2017. The first four months of the year achieved the second highest year-to-date demand (9.1 million bpd) on record.

Strong global demand raised international oil prices by more than domestic ones. Domestic WTI crude oil prices averaged US$66.25/bbl in April, up by 5.6% from March and 29.7% vs April 2017. Meanwhile, international Brent crude oil prices continued to increase by more – 8.5% m/m in April to US$71.63/bbl, which reinforces global economic and oil demand strength.

WTI crude oil traded as an average discount of US$5.38/bbl below Brent in April, which was the second consecutive monthly increase in the price differential and returned it to the same level as in January. As US production has expanded rapidly, infrastructure constraints continued to suppress WTI prices. By comparison, Light Louisiana Sweet crude oil had weaker constraints and traded at a discount to Brent of US$2.23/bbl in April.

April highlights:

  • US petroleum sustained its highest levels in 11 years.
  • Distillate fuel rose un-seasonally to 4.2 million bpd.
  • Jet fuel demand achieved its strongest April on record.
  • Strong global demand raised international oil prices by more than domestic ones.
  • The US petroleum trade balance shrank by 380 000 bpd for the month of April.
  • US petroleum exports set new record above 7 million bpd in April.

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Downstream news US refinery news North America downstream news