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January petroleum demand lowest in 18 years (includes Monthly Statistical Report)

WASHINGTON, February 21, 2013 – Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) were down 1.7 percent for January against the same month a year ago – to just under 18 million barrels per day – the lowest level for the month in 18 years.

“The January numbers reprise last year’s theme of weak demand,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “This isn’t surprising given an economy that’s still treading water.”

Gasoline deliveries were up for the month by 2.4 percent while distillates fell by 6.0 percent, driven by the relative weakness of ultra-low-sulfur distillate deliveries (down by 4.4 percent from January 2012). January demand was also down for kerosine jet fuel by 0.5 percent and for residual fuel oil by 26 percent, although it rose for other oils by 0.6 percent.

Refinery gross inputs fell below 15.0 million barrels per day for the first time in nine months. Production of all major refined products – gasoline, distillates, jet fuel, and residual fuels – was higher than demand, so products were exported, with an overall increase of 14.2 percent in January compared with the same month in 2012. Gasoline production fell 2.7 percent from the prior month while distillate fuel production, though falling from December 2012, was the highest ever for the month of January. Kerosine-jet production and residual fuel production both declined compared with January one year ago.

In January, total imports were at their lowest level for the month in 13 years, since 2000. Total imports averaged nearly 10.4 million barrels per day, down 5.4 percent from January 2012. Crude oil imports were at their lowest January level in 13 years, and refined product imports were at their lowest level for the month in 14 years, since 1999.

The refinery utilization rate averaged 85.9 percent for January, down 4.9 percent from the prior month and 0.1 percent from January 2012. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.398 million barrels per day (in December).

Total U.S. crude oil production in January rose above 7.0 million barrels per day for the first time in over 20 years (and marked the highest January output in 21 years). Year-over-year increases in domestic crude oil production have occurred for 16 straight months.

The number of oil and gas rigs decreased from 1,784 in December to 1,756 in January, according to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., and has stayed below 2,000 for 13 straight months.

Crude oil stocks ended January at 371.8 million barrels per day, the highest January inventory levels in 32 years, since 1981. Crude stocks were up 3.3 percent from the prior month, and up 9.3 percent from the prior year. In January, motor gasoline stocks ended up by 4.9 percent from December 2012, but down 0.2 from the same period last year, to 234.6 million barrels. Distillate fuel stocks ended at an eight-year low, down 13.4 percent to 128.8 million barrels from year ago levels.

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 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. The industry also supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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