US refineries set distillate production record

US oil refineries produced record volumes of distillate fuel for the second month running, with output averaging 3.76 million b/d, up 8% on September 1999, the American Petroleum Institute stated today in its monthly statistical report.


US oil refineries produced record volumes of distillate fuel for the second month running, with output averaging 3.76 million b/d, up 8% on September 1999, the American Petroleum Institute (API) stated today in its monthly statistical report.

According to the API, September's "strong" response to a 9.8% jump in demand drove up third quarter production to 3.7 million b/d, 5.4% higher than a year ago. The month's deliveries, a key measure of demand, contributed to the highest quarterly growth rate�5.1%�in 12 years.

The API's monthly statistical report recorded that deliveries of high-sulfur distillate surged by 18.5% during September and 10% during the third quarter.

The overall refinery utilization rate in the US slipped to 94.7% over the month, but was still fractionally higher than the 94.1% rate a year ago. Some 15.7 million b/d was pumped into refineries, a 2.1% hike on September 1999.

Production of gasoline, kerosine jet fuel, and residual oil were all up on last September, to 8.3 million b/d, 1.6 million b/d, and 762,000 b/d, respectively.

Domestic crude oil output totaled 5.8 million b/d, a drop of 0.7% on last year, while Alaska's production fell 3.6% to 899,000 b/d.

According to the API's quarterly well completion report, the number of wells completed leapt by 59% in the third quarter, as compared to the same period last year, with natural gas completions�3,787�at their highest level for any quarter in 15 years.

US crude imports rose some 7.2% to 9.14 million b/d year-on-year, while oil stocks were down by the end of September to 286.6 million bbl, a fall of 5.6%. Distillate inventories, on the other hand, grew in the third quarter�though by only 9.2 million bbl. These stocks had risen an average of 17 million bbl over this period for the last 5 years.

Natural gas liquids production was 0.5% up on last September, at 1.93 million b/d.

While gasoline stocks at the end of September had fallen to 201.9 billion bbl, a drop of 2.5%, inventories of all other oils stood at 213.4 million bbl, a 3.7% increase year-on-year. Total domestic stocks, according to the API, were down at 986.7 million bbl, a fall of 5.2% compared to last September, but up 0.4% on August.

More in Refining