API reports record US petroleum production in April: 10.543 million b/d; strongest April demand since 2007
April saw the US produce a record 10,543,000 barrels per day (MBD) of oil, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. The first four months of this year also saw US petroleum demand average 750,000 barrels a day above the same period in 2017 despite higher prices.
Total petroleum products delivered to the domestic market in April 2018 were 20,308,000 b/d—a seasonal decrease of 1.5% from March but 3.8% above April 2017. This was the strongest April monthly demand since 2007.
Consumer gasoline demand, as measured by total motor gasoline deliveries, of 9.3 million barrels per day in April was up by 1.3% from March and 1.1% versus April 2017. The first four months of the year achieved the second highest year-to-date demand (9.1 MBD) on record.
Reformulated-type gasoline, which is consumed primarily in urban areas, was flat with growth of 0.1% y/y in April to 3.1 MBD. By contrast, conventional gasoline is used more in rural areas and rose by 1.5% y/y in April to 6.2 MBD.
In April, distillate deliveries of 4.2 MBD rose by 6.0% from March and 11.0% compared with April 2017. API noted that this data point was surprising, since it runs counter to typical seasonality between March and April. This was only fifth time on record since 1945 that distillate demand in April was greater than that from March.
About 94% of distillate demand in April was for ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), which increased by 8.4% m/m and 9.6% y/y. The growth suggested strong road freight transportation activity, API said.
Jet fuel demand also achieved its strongest April on record.
Strong global demand raised international oil prices by more than domestic ones. Domestic WTI crude oil prices averaged $66.25 per barrel in April, up by 5.6% from March and 29.7% versus April 2017. Meanwhile, international Brent crude oil prices continued to increase by more—8.5 percent m/m in April to $71.63 per barrel, which reinforces global economic and oil demand strength.
WTI crude oil traded as an average discount of $5.38 per barrel below Brent in April, which was the second consecutive monthly increase in the price differential and returned it to the same level as in January. As US production has expanded rapidly, infrastructure constraints continued to suppress WTI prices. By comparison, Light Louisiana Sweet crude oil had weaker constraints and traded at a discount to Brent of $2.23 per barrel in April.
US petroleum exports set new record above 7.0 MBD in April.