WASHINGTON, September 19, 2013 ? Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) edged down 0.7 percent from August 2012 to average 19.1 million barrels per day last month. These were the highest deliveries for the year but remained the lowest August level in 4 years.
"August saw a continuation of trends that have been building for quite some time," said API Chief Economist John Felmy. "The incredible rise in American energy production, helped in part by softening demand, has allowed the United States to dramatically increase energy exports and reduce its energy imports."
Demand for gasoline rose 0.4 percent from the previous month but fell by 0.9 percent from August 2012. The average deliveries of nearly 9.1 million barrels per day marked a high point for the year despite being the third lowest August level in 13 years. Distillate demand increased by 2.3 percent from year-ago levels while deliveries of "other oils" declined by 1.4 percent. Over the same period, demand for residual fuel fell 3.8 percent to the lowest August level on record and jet fuel demand dropped 0.3 percent to the second lowest point for the month in 20 years.
Refinery gross inputs were up 4.2 percent from last year to 16.3 million barrels per day - a nine-year August high and the third straight month above 16.0 million barrels per day. Exports of refined petroleum products increased by 2.6 percent from July and 16.1 percent from August 2012. The average of 3.503 million barrels per day was the highest August level ever and just 42 thousand barrels per day lower than the all-time record set in June.
Gasoline production remained robust last month, dropping 0.8 percent from July but up 1.6 percent from August 2012 to 9.2 million barrels per day - the third highest output for the month on record. Production of distillate fuel topped 5.0 million barrels per day for only the second time ever, rising 9.6 percent from last year to an August record of 5.040 million barrels per day. This was just 12 thousand barrels per day shy of the all-time high achieved in July.
Domestic crude oil production was also strong in August, increasing by 1.2 percent from July and by 20.3 percent from August 2012 to a 25-year high for the month of nearly 7.6 million barrels per day. According to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. in August was 1,781, up from July's count of 1,766. This was the highest count so far for the year.
Crude oil stocks ended the month at 361.6 million barrels - the lowest inventory so far for the year but still the second highest August level in 23 years. Stocks of motor gasoline ended up 8.7 percent from last year at 218.1 million barrels. Distillate fuel oil stocks ended at 129.5 million barrels, up 1.6 percent from year ago levels.
U.S. total imports remained below 10.0 million barrels per day for the fifth time this year, averaging an 18-year August low of just over 9.8 million barrels per day on a 10.0 percent drop from the prior year. Crude oil imports in August reached their lowest level for the month in 17 years, falling by 6.8 percent from the prior year to just above 8.0 million barrels per day. Imports of refined products decreased by 22.2 percent from year-ago levels to average 1.8 million barrels per day. This was also the lowest August level in 18 years.
The refinery capacity utilization rate averaged 91.3 percent in August, down 0.5 percentage points from July but up 0.5 percentage points from the same period last year. API's latest refinery operable capacity was 17.820 million barrels per day, up 3.6 percent from last year's capacity of 17.195 million barrels per day.
API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America's technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 550 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 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 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.