Refiners turn in record performance for September
Nov 1, 2006 1:57 PM
Refiners in the United States pumped up the volume in September, producing more distillate than ever before and the highest levels of gasoline for the month, boosting inventories ahead of the winter, data compiled by the American Petroleum Institute shows.
In its Monthly Statistical Report covering September 2006, API noted that stockpiles of crude oil and refined products stood well above their five-year average for the month, thanks to extraordinary high imports and record domestic refinery production.
Distillate production averaged a record-high of nearly 4.4 million barrels per day in September, including nearly 2.6 million barrels per day of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, while gasoline output averaged 9.1 million barrels per day, the highest ever for September. Refinery capacity utilization averaged 93 percent, the highest for the month in three years.
According to the report, September crude oil imports were the highest ever, at 10.9 million barrels per day. This contrasted sharply with crude imports in September a year ago, when refinery demand for crude oil was hobbled by the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast. The result was a year-to-year increase in crude oil imports for this September of more than 19 percent.
Meanwhile, strong domestic refinery output of products in the more recent period reversed last September's then-record product imports that had helped offset the loss of domestic supply capability. September 2006 product imports fell nearly 18 percent from one year earlier though the 3.4 million barrels per day of product imports were roughly in line with year-to-date results.
Domestic refined product deliveries, a measure of demand, experienced a rare year-to-year increase, if only because demand in September a year ago was diminished for some products by the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on supplies and prices. September 2006 gasoline deliveries, in particular, showed an increase of more than four percent, though Planting estimated that had year-ago deliveries not been affected by the hurricane impact, this September's gasoline deliveries would have shown an increase of a little more than two percent, still relatively strong growth compared with recent past months, occurring at a time when retail gasoline prices have been falling dramatically, the report said.
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