U.S. petroleum demand reached 20.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) in March, the highest level since 2007.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that refineries utilised 91.5% of their capacity and processed 17 mbpd of oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in order to satisfy demand.

The U.S. also produced a record 10.4 mbpd of crude oil plus another 3.9 mbpd of NGLs.

“As the United States’ leading position in oil and natural gas markets advanced in March, consumers continue to enjoy affordable prices at the pump,” said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman.

“Economic strength at home and abroad has spurred a virtuous cycle of U.S. oil demand, production and exports that in turn have helped to reinforce prices and motivate even greater infrastructure investment and U.S. drilling activity. The proverbial April surprise was that the U.S. drilling rig count eclipsed 1,000 for the first time since April 2015 and positioned the U.S. for further supply growth.”

The U.S. petroleum trade balance narrowed in March as the global thirst for U.S. crude oil and major refined product exports rose to 6.8 mbpd, which also was a record for the month and an increase of 1.0 mbpd from March 2017.

With strong demand and exports, U.S. inventories fell in March by 4.9 percent year-over-year but rose compared with February. Within the total, inventories of crude oil and “other oils” increased between February and March, which is partly why domestic oil prices traded at a greater discount to international ones and NGL prices have fallen.

In addition, the U.S. exported 6.8 mbpd of crude oil and refined product, increased 8.0 percent from February and 16.2 percent compared with March 2017. Crude oil exports of 1.6 mbpd in March continued to rise and more than double those of March 2017.

20th Apr 2018

20th April 2018