API: US petroleum demand hits 4-year high in April

Total US petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, increased 2.3% from April 2013 to average 19 million b/d this April, the highest April deliveries in 4 years, the American Petroleum Institute said in its monthly statistical report.

“April brought strong year-over-year growth in both the production and refining sectors,” said John Felmy, API chief economist. “The oil and natural gas industry continues to provide a solid base for growth in the larger economy.”

At nearly 8.3 million b/d, US crude oil production increased 12.6% from April 2013 to the highest level for the month since 1988. According to the latest reports from Baker Hughes Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the US in April was 1,835, up 32 units from March and was up 80 units from April 2013. This was the highest count since September 2012.

Total imports in April averaged 10.1 million b/d, 0.6% higher than last year and the second lowest level in 17 years. Crude oil imports averaged 8 million b/d, up 3.7% from last year, while imports of refined products fell 9.4% from April 2013 to 2.1 million b/d, the second lowest level for the month in 16 years.

Demand for gasoline gained 2.7% and distillate deliveries gained 8.8% from April 2013 to average 9 million b/d and 4.2 million b/d, respectively. Jet fuel demand dropped to the second lowest April level in 19 years while residual fuel deliveries were the lowest on record for the month. Deliveries of other oils for April showed a slight drop over year-ago levels.

Production of gasoline set a new all-time record last month, gaining 9.2% from April 2013’s output to 9.8 million b/d. Distillate production rose 12.1% from last year to 5 million b/d, the highest April level on record, API reported.

New April records were also set for refinery gross inputs and exports of refined products. Compared with last year, refinery gross inputs grew 5.1% to 16.1 million b/d, and exports of refined petroleum products gained 16% to average 3.7 million b/d. The refinery capacity utilization rate averaged 89.7% in April. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.922 million b/d.

Crude oil stocks ended at 390 million bbl, down 1.5% from last year but still the second highest April inventory level in 31 years. Stocks of motor gasoline were down by 2.3% from last year to 216 million bbl. Distillate, jet fuel, and other oils stocks were all down from year ago levels, API said.

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