API: US petroleum demand hits highest July level in 3 years

Total US petroleum deliveries, as a measure of demand, averaged 18.9 million b/d last month, up 1.7% from year-ago levels and hitting a 3-year high, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s monthly petroleum statistics.

“The summer travel season brought greater demand for several fuel types last month than we’ve seen in recent years,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “On the supply side, we produced more domestic crude last month than at any other point in the last 22 years.”

Gasoline demand rose 2.2% to 9 million b/d, the second lowest July level in 13 years.

Jet fuel demand rose 2.3% and distillate deliveries increased 8% from the previous year levels, recording the highest July demands in the past couple of years. Demand for “other oils” rose 0.4% from year-ago levels. The only fuel type on demand decline was residual fuel with its deliveries felling 35.7% to a record low of 269,000 b/d for July.

Refinery gross inputs rose 2.4% to 16.4 million b/d, the highest July level in 8 years and the second time above 16 million b/d since August 2011. Exports of refined petroleum products averaged 3.4 million b/d in July, up 6.3% from a year earlier.

On the production side, gasoline and distillate fuel production remained robust, up 0.4% and 5.1% from their June levels, respectively. Production of distillate fuel, especially, topped 5 million b/d for the first time ever.

US crude oil production averaged nearly 7.5 million b/d, up 17.4% from July 2012 and reaching a 25-year July high. “This was above 7 million b/d for the ninth consecutive month and the highest output of any month in the last 22 years,” API said.

According to the latest reports from Baker Hughes Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the US in July was 1,766, up from June’s count of 1,761.

Crude oil stocks finished July at an 11-month low of 366.8 million bbl, fell 3.2% from June and 0.8% from the prior year. Stocks of motor gasoline rose 8% from last year to 226.2 million bbl. Distillate fuel oil stocks ended at 126.3 million bbl, down 0.2% from year-ago levels.

US total imports in July averaged 9.7 million b/d, an 18-year low for the month. Crude oil imports in July fell to their lowest level in 17 years. Imports of refined products were 2 million b/d, down 6% from July 2012.

“The refinery capacity utilization rate averaged 91.8% in July, up 1.6 percentage points from June but down 1 percentage point from July 2012,” API said. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.82 million b/d, up 3.4% from last year’s capacity.

Contact Conglin Xu at conglinx@ogjonline.com.

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