News | March 20, 2014

Petroleum Demand Dips In February (Includes Monthly Statistical Report)

Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) fell 0.6 percent from February 2013 to average 18.5 million barrels per day last month, marking the lowest February level in 16 years, since 1998.

“Cold weather tends to have a dampening effect on the economy, which helped reduce demand for many types of fuel in February,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “Of course, low temperatures have the opposite effect on demand for propane and heating oil.”

Demand for gasoline dropped 0.2 percent from February 2013, but gained 1.1 percent from January to average close to 8.4 million barrels per day, a 13-year low for the month. Demand also fell for residual fuel (14.4 percent), distillate (3.6 percent), and jet fuel (1.9 percent) compared to the prior year. Jet fuel deliveries were at the lowest February level in 22 years.

Although overall deliveries of distillate were down last month, demand for high sulfur distillate fuel oil, which is used almost exclusively for heating in the residential and commercial sectors, rose 18.1 percent from the prior year. February demand for “other oils” showed an increase of 6.1 percent over year-ago levels driven by strong propane demand. “Other oils” including liquid petrochemical feedstocks, naphtha, gas oil, and propane were 25.8 percent of total petroleum deliveries.

Crude oil production in February increased by 12.5 percent from February 2013, but was slightly down by 0.8 percent from January. According to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. in February was 1,769, the same as January’s count.

Total imports in February averaged at just over 9.0 million barrels per day – down 2.3 percent from the prior year and the lowest level since 1996. Crude oil imports rose 1.7 percent from February 2013 to 7.4 million barrels per day. Imports of refined products fell 17.2 percent over the same period to 1.6 million barrels per day – the lowest level for the month since 1991.

Production of gasoline and distillate both hit record highs for the month of February. Compared to the prior year, gasoline production gained 3.5 percent and distillate production rose 9.2 percent to reach 9.1 million barrels per day and 4.7 million barrels per day, respectively.

Refinery gross inputs in February rose by 6.7 percent from last year to a record high for the month of 15.5 million barrels per day. Exports of refined petroleum products increased by 24.2 percent from February 2013 to 4.0 million barrels per day – the second highest level on record.

The refinery capacity utilization rate averaged 87.1 percent in February, down 1.5 percentage points from January but 5.4 percent higher than the same period last year. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.816 million barrels per day.

Crude oil stocks ended in February at 364.8 million barrels– down by 5.2 percent from the prior year but still the second highest February inventory level in 31 years. Stocks of motor gasoline were up by 0.2 percent from last year to 227.4 million barrels. Distillate fuel oil stocks were down 6.7 percent from year ago levels at 113.7 million barrels–the lowest February inventory level in 10 years. Jet fuel stocks were down by 7.9 percent from the prior year, and stocks of “other oils” were also down from year ago levels. Total inventories of all oils were down 7.1 percent from February 2013.

About API
API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 550 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of nearly 20 million Americans. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85M a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2T in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.