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Record U.S. oil production fuels highest demand since 2007


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WASHINGTON, APRIL 19, 2018 – Today the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. petroleum demand reached 20.6 million barrels per day (MBD) last month, the highest level since 2007. To satisfy demand, domestic refineries utilized 91.5 percent of their capacity – a record for the month of March – and processed 17 MBD of oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The U.S. also produced a record 10.4 MBD of crude oil plus another 3.9 MBD 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 MBD, which also was a record for the month and an increase of 1.0 MBD 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 MBD 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 MBD in March continued to rise and more than double those of March 2017.


March highlights:

  • U.S. petroleum sustained its highest levels in 11 years.
    • Q1 2018 gasoline demand up from Q1 2017.
    • Jet fuel demand reached its highest level since 2000.

  • Solid leading indicators have underpinned the economy and energy demand supply.
  • U.S. petroleum exports at record 6.8 million barrels a day year to date.
  • Record March refinery throughput and March capacity utilization.

For more information on the monthly reports, please visit our Energy Tomorrow blog and API website, where the reports are now available to view and share.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.

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