Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 15, 2021
API’s new Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), based on U.S. petroleum primary market data through September, reinforced a combination of developments that has been recurrent so far in 2021 – that is, demand outpaced supply, inventories fell and, consequently, imports and prices rose.
Historically, this combination of factors has also led to further market tightening, which could put additional upward pressure on costs and prices.
The underlying drivers come back to the basics of demand, which reached a record high for the month of September at 20.6 million barrels per day (mb/d), and supply that has remained muted due to the industry’s continued financial, work force and supply chain constraints, coupled with a lack of policy support as we discussed here.
Posted September 22, 2021
Economics and energy market data for the third quarter of 2021 were marked by divergences. That’s the main thrust of API’s quarterly Industry Outlook for Q3 2021 and Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) with primary data for August.
Demand for oil and natural gas has risen strongly along with the economic recovery, as we discussed here. At the same time, global oil and natural gas investments have fallen to record lows so far in 2021, (see here). Consequently, supplies have failed to keep pace with demand and generally resulted in lower inventories, higher U.S. imports and the strongest prices for crude oil, gasoline and natural gas since 2014.
Posted August 19, 2021
As the summer driving season motors on, we’re watching not only the impacts of seasonally higher gasoline prices on U.S. households, but also costs in other areas affecting family budgets – and whether those costs are seasonal or longer-lasting. This is the context for API’s new Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), based on July data.
As we discussed here, U.S. consumers have benefitted recently from fuels and products derived from relatively inexpensive domestic crude oil and natural gas – well below international price levels. This was due to abundant domestic crude oil production.
That’s changed now. Domestic production is lower, partly due to the aftereffects of the 2020 COVID-19 recession as well as the delay or cancellation of energy projects that take years to complete. In this sense, the pulse of U.S. petroleum markets is vital, and API’s primary data can offer a leading perspective.
Posted July 21, 2021
It’s great for the U.S. economy that, with urban re-openings and the onset of the summer driving season, petroleum demand returned to over 20 million barrels per day (mb/d) in June, according to API’s primary data presented in our latest Monthly Statistical Report (MSR).
However, domestic oil supplies have not been able keep pace, and consequently U.S. crude oil imports and consumer prices have suddenly risen, which ultimately could contribute to the list of expenses stressing household budgets, such as higher costs for housing, vehicles and many other goods and services.
Posted June 17, 2021
The expectations and real prospects for global and U.S. economic recovery – and energy markets along with them – have accelerated and appear bright. That’s the overarching point in API’s quarterly Industry Outlook for Q2 2021 and Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), echoing what we have said since the third quarter of last year (see here, here and here).
Yet, while API’s primary data for May 2021 show the recoveries in U.S. economic growth and petroleum demand have continued to go hand-in-hand, potential record global oil demand growth this year and the next, per the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), could be overshadowed by the lowest industry-wide real capital expenditures on record for any quarter, by API estimates.
Demand up and capital investment down by record amounts is a concerning combination.
Posted May 20, 2021
API’s primary data for April 2021 evidenced momentum for the broader U.S. economic recovery, as petroleum demand and refining activity rose, supply remained solid and leading economic indicators pointed higher.
The April headline figure was that total U.S. petroleum demand of 19.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) rose by 2.5% from March and to within 3.5% of its level in April 2019, which was its highest for the month in 11 years.
Contemplate that for a second: For all of the dislocation and continuing issues with recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, total petroleum demand in April was within a sliver of where it was that record-setting April of 2019.
Posted April 15, 2021
API’s primary data for March 2021 suggest that petroleum markets demonstrated a measured recovery following the winter emergency disruptions that affected oil supply, trade and inventories beginning in mid-February.
Notably, total U.S. petroleum demand of 19.1 million barrels per day (mb/d) decreased seasonally but showed resounding strength in rural gasoline demand that increased by 632,000 barrels per day over February.
Posted March 18, 2021
API’s latest industry outlook affirms the extent of recoveries in the U.S. and global economies, as well as rising demand for oil and natural gas.
For the past two quarters, API’s data and analysis have indicated these comebacks were underway, and this is visible in the March Monthly Statistical Report (MSR™), based on February data, and API’s quarterly Industry Outlook.
The recoveries come on the tailwind provided by nearly $20 trillion of economic stimulus around the world. We could be poised for the largest two-year oil demand increase (9.2 million barrels per day, mb/d) on record since 1950 and new record highs of demand (102.4 mb/d) by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Posted February 18, 2021
As oil prices rallied this past week, headlines suggested that oil demand recovery is expected to pick up speed (subscription required) later this year. However, API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report, based on January data, suggests that U.S. oil markets already kicked off 2021 with a remarkable month:
Total U.S. petroleum demand returned to within 1.2% of its level from January 2020 despite the pandemic; refining and petrochemical demand for other oils – naphtha, gasoil, propane/propylene reached a record-high level (6.5 million barrels per day, mb/d) and 33.1% share of total U.S. petroleum demand; and the lowest U.S. crude oil imports for January since 1992 propelled U.S. petroleum net exports.
Consider this: For all of the economic pain and dislocation caused by the 2020 COVID-19 recession, U.S. petroleum demand returned to within a hair of its pre-COVID levels and well within the five-year range.
Posted January 14, 2021
API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) underscores the importance to industry of producing essential materials during the pandemic – including sterile packaging, medical plastics and antimicrobial coatings, including polymers.
Naphtha and gasoil in refining and petrochemicals increased 10.3% year over year (y/y) in December to a record-high of 5.9 million barrels per day (mb/d), or 31.3% of total U.S. petroleum demand. Again, industry benefited from this demand and in the process helped the nation respond to the pandemic. The technical term for that is “win-win.”
December also produced an important milestone – confirmation that the U.S. was a petroleum net exporter on an annual basis for the first time in more than 60 years. It’s remarkable given the headwinds of COVID-19 and increased pressure for nations to become self-reliant. The abundance, affordability and empowering nature of U.S. petroleum has helped cut through pessimism about global trade.