By MARK SHENK
US gasoline production climbed to an all-time high in April
as fuel exports surged, the American Petroleum Institute
(API) said in a monthly report.
Production of gasoline jumped 9.2% from a year earlier to a
record 9.79 million bpd last month, the industry-funded group
said. Output of distillate fuel, a category that includes
diesel and heating oil, rose 12% to 4.95 million, a record
for the month.
Demand is up for both gasoline and distillate, and
refiners are meeting it, said John Felmy, chief
economist at the API in Washington.
Gasoline consumption jumped 2.7% to 9 million bpd. Demand for
distillates increased 8.8% to 4.21 million, the most for
April since 2007. Total deliveries of petroleum products, a
measure of demand, advanced 2.3% to 19 million bpd.
Refineries processed 16.1 million bpd, a record for April.
Production of gasoline, distillate, jet fuel and residual
fuel exceeded domestic demand, leading to a gain in exports.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking,
have unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central
US, including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford
in Texas. Most of the output from shale is light, sweet
crude, or oil with low density and sulfur content, which
yields a high proportion of diesel and gasoline.
Fuel exports rose 16% to 3.72 million bpd, a record for the
month. The all-time high of 4.4 million came in December.
I suspect that the influx of light, sweet crude from
the Bakken and Eagle Ford, along with the gain in refinery
input, is behind the rise
in gasoline output, Felmy said. Were lucky
to be able to export the additional barrels, which helps the
US crude oil output increased 13% to 8.25 million bpd, the
most for April since 1988. Output of natural gas liquids, a
drilling by-product, climbed 9.2% to 2.7 million.
Jet fuel consumption dropped 0.5% to 1.41 million bpd, the
second-lowest April level in 19 years. Demand for residual
oil, used for commercial and industrial heating, electricity
generation and ship propulsion, dropped 13% to 248,000 bpd.
Total oil and fuel imports rose 0.6% in April to 10.1 million
bpd, the second-lowest total in 17 years.