API: Refinery runs hit record 15.9 million b/d in July

The American Petroleum Institute said Wednesday that US refineries processed a record 15.898 million b/d in July. Refining activity was 2.9% higher than a year ago as refineries 'picked up the slack in supplying the nation with petroleum products' by operating at 96% capacity, API said.


WASHINGTON, DC�The American Petroleum Institute said Wednesday that US refineries processed a record 15.898 million b/d in July.

Refining activity was 2.9% higher than a year ago as refineries "picked up the slack in supplying the nation with petroleum products" by operating at 96% capacity, API said.

Gasoline production averaged more than 8.329 million b/d, 0.6% more than July a year ago. Distillate fuel oil output was 3.532 million b/d, up for the sixth consecutive month.

Kerosine jet fuel output was up 5% at 1.627 million b/d in July, while residual fuel oil production was up 2.7% at 756,000 b/d.

API said Lower 48 crude production rose 1.7% to 4.891 million b/d, the fourth consecutive month of increases over year-ago levels. Alaska output dropped to its lowest level in more than 20 years at 921,000 b/d.

Inventories of crude and products increased to 1.004 billion bbl, the highest level since last October but 6% below July 1999. Crude stocks were 283.5 million bbl, 14.6% lower than last July. Gasoline stocks were up 1.1% at 206.6 million bbl.

API said distillate stocks increased an unusual 8 million bbl in July, but at 111.9 million bbl were still 18.5% below last July. In New England, stocks were 4.8 million bbl, 60% less than their average July levels for the past 5 years. But API noted that 90% of the home heating fuel used each year is made during the winter months.

Distillate fuel deliveries were down 5.3% at 3.296 million b/d, but API said that "misrepresents the underlying trend in distillate demand" because deliveries in July 1999 were unusually high. It said a large 17% drop in high-sulfur distillate, which is used for home heating fuel, drove the decline.

July gasoline deliveries were down 4.7% at 8.518 million b/d, which API said indicates that retail gasoline prices (about 35% higher than a year ago) are affecting consumption.

It said kerosine jet fuel deliveries were up 2.9% at 1.696 million b/d, and residual fuel oil deliveries were 15% higher at 866,000 b/d. Deliveries of other products were down 6% at 4.944 million b/d.

Crude oil imports were off 3.4% at 9.075 million b/d, and product imports were down 13.4% at 1.997 million b/d. Natural gas liquids production was up 2.9% at 1.957 million b/d.

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