The American Petroleum Institute says the oil industry depression continued in February, with U.S. crude production falling 6.8% from a year ago to 5.946 million b/d, and a further 8,900 petroleum jobs being lost.
API said the additional 8,900 U.S. upstream jobs lost in February brought the total petroleum employment decline since December 1997 to 51,400 jobs, or more than 15% of the work force.
It said early 1999 production was at the lowest level in nearly 50 years. And wellhead prices averaged only $9/bbl, roughly 30% below a year ago and less than half the price 2 years ago.
For the second straight month, Alaska's production decline was in double digits. Compared with output a year ago, it fell 14% to 1.096 million b/d. Production in the Lower 48 dropped 5% from a year ago.
February imports of crude and products jumped 11% to 10.627 million b/d, reaching 55.6% of U.S. consumption. Crude oil imports alone rose 6.7% to 8.291 million b/d.
February gasoline deliveries, a key barometer of demand, increased a healthy 2.5% to 7.945 million b/d compared with February a year ago. The national average retail price of unleaded regular fell 2¢ to 89.3¢/gal, according to the Energy Information Administration.
API said, despite February's unseasonably mild weather, distillate fuel oil deliveries rose 2.3% to 3.669 million b/d, compared to an even milder February a year ago. Heating oil consumption was roughly 150,000 b/d lower than it might have been had weather followed normal patterns.
Distillate imports soared 54.6% to 283,000 b/d, vs. the unusually low levels of a year ago.
It said kerosine jet fuel deliveries jumped 11% to a record 1.765 million b/d, representing about 9% of all petroleum deliveries for February. Residual fuel oil deliveries rose 11% to 880,000 b/d.
Natural gas liquids production fell 7.4% to 1.732 million b/d.
API said crude oil stocks were 329.7 million bbl at the end of the month. Gasoline stocks were up 4.5% at 231.4 million bbl. And total stocks were 1,078,500 bbl, 7.1% higher than in February 1998.
Copyright 1999 Oil & Gas Journal. All Rights Reserved.