API says oil output rise, warmer winter slashed January imports 11%

By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 13 -- US oil production continued a steady rebound in January from low levels of a year ago, rising nearly 3% to 5.9 million b/d.

The American Petroleum Institute, in its monthly statistical report, said Alaska production of 1.032 million b/d was 5.3% higher than a year ago.

The domestic output backed out imports, which fell 3.3% to 8.470 million b/d.

API said, "More telling of the current US consumer demand situation was the 30.9% drop in imported refined products, albeit compared to an unusually large amount the year before. All told, total imports dropped about 11% year-over-year on top of the 9% decline this past December. Gasoline imports of 707,000 b/d were down 2.3 from a year ago."

API said US petroleum import dependency was 57.3% compared to 60.7% in January a year ago.

Consumer demand, as measured by how much refined product was delivered to the industry's marketplace, continued to be weak with 18.830 million b/d distributed from refineries, storage terminals, and imports, a 5.4% decline compared to a year earlier, API said.

Of the major products, only gasoline deliveries exceeded year ago levels with 8.216 million b/d, an increase of 1.9%. Gasoline received positive demand because retail prices were 24% lower than a year ago, personal income growth was moderate, and the warmer-than-normal weather offered favorable driving conditions.

Deliveries of distillate fuel oil, used mostly for diesel vehicles and home heating, dropped 12.4% compared to January 2001, the biggest decline in more than 10 years. Abnormally warm winter weather was a factor, the report said.

Kerosine jet fuel deliveries rose 60,000 b/d from December, but that still resulted in a 9.5% decline from a year ago.

Residual fuel oil deliveries were 744,000 b/d, a 35.4% drop from a year ago, among the lowest months for demand in several decades, with lower natural gas prices exerting the negative pressure since the two fuels are competitors for industrial use, said the report.

API said natural gas liquids production of 2.023 million b/d was 46.5% higher, the biggest rise in more than 20 years due to declining natural gas prices.

Crude oil stocks of 316 million bbl were up 7.4% from a year ago and up almost 2% from December 2001. Total petroleum stocks were 1.050 billion bbl, a 12.2% increase from a year ago. The refinery utilization rate was 87.8%.

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