Domestic petroleum demand hits 17-year November low, API says

US petroleum demand remained weak in November, averaging 18.5 million b/d and reaching the lowest level for the month in 17 years, the American Petroleum Institute reported.

Deliveries, which API uses to measure demand, were down 3.3% from November 2011 and 0.2% lower than in October, it said in its latest monthly statistical review.

Gasoline demand, which averaged 8.5 million b/d, modestly fell 0.3% year-to-year, according to API. Distillate fuel oil demand dropped by a bigger percentage—6.3%—to 3.8 million b/d, it said.

“The economy has shown modest improvement—in employment, for example – but the fundamentals of fuel demand fail to indicate a strengthening recovery is imminent,” API Chief Economist John C. Felmy said.

“Look at the weakness in distillate deliveries, including ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which is critical to shipping just about everything in our economy,” he continued. “It was down 4.5% from November last year.”

Crude oil and condensate production, meanwhile, climbed 13.3% year-to-year to nearly 6.8 million b/d, API said. Production of natural gas liquids, an increasingly important element of US oil and gas production because of their role as a manufacturing feedstock, rose 1.5% from November 2012 to 2.4 million b/d, it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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