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Petroleum demand rises in September and Q3

Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) increased by 2.7 percent from September 2012 to average just above 18.6 million barrels per day in September, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). For the third quarter, petroleum deliveries increased by 1.7 percent from the same period last year.

‘Demand for petroleum products remains consistent with a gradually improving economy,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. ‘Exports of refined products in particular continue to show strength over the previous year.”

Gasoline demand rose 2.1 percent in September and 1.2 percent in the third quarter from 2012 levels to average 8.7 million barrels per day. Demand also rose in September for distillate (3.8 percent), ‘other oils” (5.8 percent), and jet fuel (1.5 percent). At nearly 1.4 million barrels per day, jet fuel demand was the second lowest for the month in 20 years, since 1993. September residual fuel oil demand, however, fell 38.3 percent to 232 thousand barrels per day. This was the lowest September level on record and just 36 thousand barrels higher than the all-time low of 196 thousand barrels per day set in December 2012.

Refinery gross inputs grew 6.2 percent from last September to the highest level for the month on record at nearly 16.2 million barrels per day. Exports of refined petroleum products rose 15.5 percent in September to the second highest level ever at nearly 3.7 million barrels per day. Gasoline production increased by 1.9 percent in September and 1.4 percent in the third quarter compared to last year. The production of 9.1 million barrels per day was the third highest September gasoline output on record. Distillate fuel production rose 8.1 percent from last year to a record for the month of 4.9 million barrels per day. This was also the second highest output level on record, just 104 thousand barrels below last month’s all-time high of 5.0 million barrels per day. Year to date production of both gasoline and distillate reached all-time record highs in September, averaging just above 9.0 million barrels per day for gasoline and nearly 4.7 million barrels per day for distillate.

Domestic crude production in September increased 18.6 percent in September and 18.7 percent in the third quarter, compared to 2012 figures. At nearly 7.8 million barrels per day, crude production saw its highest September output in 25 years. According to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. in September was 1,760, down from August count of 1,781.

Crude oil stocks ended the month at 365.3 million barrels’ a 1.3 percent drop from the prior year but still the second highest September level in 33 years, since 1980. Stocks of motor gasoline ended up 9.3 percent from last year to 219.5 million barrels. Distillate fuel oil stocks ended at 128.2 million barrels, up 0.6 percent from year ago levels. Jet fuel stocks were down by 7.3 percent from the prior year.

U.S. total imports fell 4.4 percent from September 2012 to average just over 10.0 million barrels per day, marking the lowest level for the month in 17 years. Crude oil imports in September fell 3.3 percent from the prior year to average around 8.1 million barrels per day. Though the highest imports level in nearly a year, this was the lowest imports level for the month in 17 years, since 1996. Imports of refined products were down by 8.8 percent from September 2012 to average 1.9 million barrels per day. This was the lowest level for the month in 16 years.

The refinery utilization rate averaged 90.8 percent in September, down 0.5 percent from the prior month but up 3.2 percentage points from September 2012. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.820 million barrels per day, up 2.4 percent from last year’s capacity of 17.400 million barrels per day.

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.

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