API: Petroleum demand falls for the first time in 2011

Source: API

Total petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) fell in July by half a percent compared with July a year ago. It was the first time deliveries dipped for any month this year. Motor gasoline demand reached a low for any July over the past decade. However, distillate deliveries were strongly higher in July by 10.9 percent over July 2010, led by a 15.1 percent increase in ultra low sulfur distillate deliveries. Also, deliveries of jet fuel were at a three-year high for the month. 

"The numbers, though mixed, confirm continuing weakness in the economy," said API chief economist John Felmy. "Consumers aren’t spending, and jobless claims have increased, so it isn’t surprising gasoline demand was down and overall demand slipped a bit." 

U.S. refinery gasoline production fell for the first time this year, down by 2.3 percent from July a year ago. However, gasoline production remained at a record level on a year-to-date basis. Refinery inputs were down in July for the sixth month in a row. 

Total imports of petroleum products were down for the month of July from last year by 14.7 percent to a 14-year low. Crude imports also fell substantially. Canadian imports of crude oil increased 1.3 percent to 2.1 million barrels per day. 

Crude oil production fell to a three-year low for the month, slipping to its lowest level in 2011. Production in the lower-48 states was down slightly in July while Alaskan production plunged 13.2 percent as a result of a planned maintenance shutdown of the trans-Alaska pipeline in the middle of the month. According to Baker Hughes Inc., oil and gas rigs reached a three-year high to 1,900. 

With a decline in crude oil imports and an increase in crude oil refinery inputs, compared with the prior year, crude oil stocks showed year-over-year declines for the second time this year, falling by 1.5 percent from this June and 1.7 percent from July 2010. This stock level was still the second highest for any July since 1990, after July 2010. Gasoline, distillate fuel and jet fuel stocks decreased over July a year ago. 

API represents more than 470 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $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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