U.S. petroleum demand near its highest levels in 11 years

March 15, 2018

Led by gasoline and seasonal demand for heating fuels, U.S. petroleum demand hit 20.3 million barrels per day (MBD) in February. Demand was up by more than a million barrels per day from February of last year, nearing record highs not seen for more than a decade.

“The economy and energy demand have continued to show solid momentum so far in 2018,” said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman. “With U.S. oil and NGL production at record levels – and a resilient industry value chain that has absorbed the growth – consumers are benefiting from this momentum and enjoying affordable and reliable fuels made right here at home.”

The strength in U.S. petroleum demand is consistent with indicators that the macroeconomic backdrop has remained solid. However, crude prices declined in February after seven consecutive monthly increases. International crude oil prices fell by more than domestic ones (5.4 percent m/m for Brent versus 2.3 percent m/m for WTI) in February. WTI crude oil prices averaged $62.23 per barrel, while Brent averaged $65.32 per barrel for the month.

At these prices February, U.S. supply achieved new highs for production of crude oil (10.3 MBD) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) (4.1 MBD). U.S. refineries also processed crude and other feedstocks (16.4 MBD) at record levels for the month, which displaced petroleum imports other than a seasonal winter need for distillate.

In addition, the U.S. rig count climbed to 984 rigs as of March 9 and has averaged 959 rigs through Q1 2018 to date; this represents an increase of 4.0 percent above the average for Q4 2017 and should position U.S. production for continued growth.

February highlights:

  • U.S. petroleum demand near its highest levels in 11 years.
    • Gasoline demand eclipsed 9.0 MBD in February for only the third time ever.
    • Winter weather spurred February distillate demand growth.
    • Fuel oil demand rebounded with cold seasonal winter weather.
    • Despite a monthly decline, jet fuel demand was the strongest for February since 2007.
  • New dual records for U.S. oil and NGL production.
  • Rising crude oil exports more than offset a fall in U.S. refined product exports.
  • Gasoline and jet fuel production led record February refinery output.

For more information on the monthly reports, please visit our Energy Tomorrow blog and the API website, where the reports are now available to view and share.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.

See news release at API.org.

 

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