Low Sulfur Diesel Hits Record Output
— The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that U.S. refineries set several production records in the first half of 2005, including a record 2.99 million bpd of low-sulfur diesel, the type required for highway use. API reported in its most recent Monthly Statistical Report
that jet fuel production rose nearly 6 percent to a first-half record of 1.59 million bpd, and gasoline production came within .3 percent of matching 2004’s all-time first-half high. Higher prices in the first half of the year was a factor that appeared to slow demand growth across all major products, reported Oil Spot.
Highway diesel had the strongest growth of any major refined petroleum product, a continuing trend. Overall, petroleum demand softened considerably in the first half of 2005 after strong growth in 2004. Total domestic deliveries, a key measure of demand, rose just 0.3 percent over the level for January through June of the year before compared with an annual 3.5 percent increase in 2004. As a result of slower growth across all major refined petroleum products, this year’s first half showed the weakest results for a six-month period since the first half of 2002. On the supply side, crude oil inventories increased by more than 37 million bbl during the first half to 323.0 million bbl. The increase was more than double the five-year average rate for January-June, and June’s ending level was the highest for that month since 1999. The first half’s domestic crude oil production rebounded from the previous six month’s level; in the latter half of 2004, crude production had suffered from precautionary, tropical-storm-related shut-ins and damage from Hurricane Ivan. When compared with the same period a year ago, domestic crude oil production so far in 2005 showed a decline of 1.6 percent to 5.45 million bpd, continuing the long-term decline trend in U.S. crude oil output.