Total US petroleum deliveries increased by 3.4% from March 2014 to average nearly 19.2 million bpd, the highest level for the month since 2011. For the first quarter of 2015, total demand gained 2.2% y/y.
“Production of both oil and natural gas liquids last month remained at the highest levels in decades even as rig counts reached a five year low,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “Demand for petroleum continued to show healthy growth compared to early last year.”
Gasoline demand rose last month by 2.2% from the prior year to average nearly 8.9 million bpd, the highest deliveries for the month in six years. Deliveries of gasoline in the first quarter increased by 2.9% compared to last year.
Distillate deliveries were 1.7% lower than March 2014 to average just below 4.0 million bpd. Over the same period, demand rose for jet fuel (1.9%), residual fuel (15.7%) and other oils (14.0%).
At 9.3 million bpd, US crude oil production increased by 13.2% from March 2014. Compared with the first quarter of 2014, domestic crude oil production rose by 14.1%. This was the highest crude oil production level since February 1973, and was the highest March output since 1972.
NGL production, a co-product of natural gas production, averaged just over 3.0 million bpd last month. This was the highest March level on record and 9.1% above last year’s output. Compared with the first quarter of 2014, NGL production rose by 13.2%.
According to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the US in March was 1108, a drop of 17.8% from the previous month and 38.5% below the year ago level. This was the lowest oil and gas rig count since February 2010.
US total petroleum imports last month averaged nearly 9.8 million bpd. While this was the highest imports for the month in three years, it remains the third lowest March level since 1997. Meanwhile, crude oil imports rose by 5.4% from March 2014 to just below 7.7 million bpd.
At an average of nearly 9.4 million bpd, gasoline production decreased 1.6% from the prior year to the second highest March level ever. Distillate fuel production set a new March record last month, up 3.1% from a year earlier to 4.9 million bpd. For the first quarter, new all time records were also set for both gasoline and distillate production.
Refinery gross inputs rose by 3.2% from last year to a record high for the month at nearly 15.9 million bpd. Exports of refined petroleum products rose by 18.1% from March 2014 to average nearly 4.6 million bpd, the highest March level ever.
The refinery capacity utilisation rate averaged 89.2% last month, up 3.4 percentage points from the previous year. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.790 million bpd.
Crude stocks were up 22.1% from the prior year, ending March at 468.7 million bbls, the highest inventory level for the month since 1930. Stocks of motor gasoline ended up by 4.9% from last year at 231.8 million bbls. These were the highest stocks for the month since 1988. Stocks of distillate, jet fuel and ‘other oils’ were all up from year ago levels as well.
Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling