Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) were down 2.3 percent from October a year ago but increased 1.3 percent from this past September to 18.4 million barrels per day, reports the American Petroleum Institute (API). Petroleum demand year to date was down 2.1 percent compared with a year ago. Demand for October 2012 was the lowest for any October since 1995, the institute notes. Here is more from the institute’s monthly report:
Gasoline, distillate and residual fuel demand also declined in October versus a year ago, with gasoline demand falling slightly by 0.2 percent. In contrast, jet fuel demand was up 1.9 percent from October 2011. Year-to-date gasoline deliveries reached their lowest level since 2001. However, gasoline demand for October was up against the previous month by 0.6 percent to 8.6 million barrels per day (yet still the lowest October level since 2000).
“For many months, we’ve seen variations on the same theme: weak demand versus a year ago and some of the weaker demand numbers over the past decade,” said API chief economist John Felmy. “The simple fact is that unemployment remains high and economic growth has been extremely modest. Petroleum demand is reflecting that.”
Inputs to crude distillation units rose slightly by 0.7 percent from the prior month and by 0.3 percent from October 2011 to nearly 15.1 million barrels per day, the highest October level in five years.
Production of all four major products – gasoline, distillates, jet fuel, and residual fuels – was greater than demand for those products, so exports of refined petroleum products increased by 1.1 percent in October. From January through October 2012, refined product imports stayed below export levels. Crude oil imports fell by 4.5 percent to average just over 8.5 million barrels per day in October.
In October, refinery utilization held steady from the preceding month at 86.9 percent, but was up 2.0 percentage points from last year. Refinery operable capacity was 17.362 million barrels per day in October, up slightly from September 2012.
Crude oil production continued to grow, up 13.3 percent from October one year ago, to average 6.65 million barrels per day, the highest October level since 1994. It also was up from the prior month and prior year to date. North Dakota crude oil production, second only to Texas, was above 700,000 barrels per day for the third consecutive month and nearly 50 percent higher than in October 2011.
The number of oil and gas rigs decreased from 1,859 in September to 1,834 in October, according to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., and has stayed below 2,000 every month in 2012.
Crude oil stocks were up 9.8 percent from October a year ago and up 2.1 percent from September 2012 to end at 371.7 million barrels. Stocks of all major products were down from last year’s levels. Gasoline stocks were down 2.9 percent in October from a year ago but up 0.9 percent from the month before.
API is a national trade association that represents the oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members include large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms.