Total petroleum deliveries in December rose to 20.7 million barrels per day. This was the strongest December monthly demand in the last decade. For 2017, total domestic petroleum deliveries rose by 1.0 percent year-on-year, despite oil prices that rose over the second half of the year. U.S. oil production also continued to increase in December to 9.75 million barrels per day (MBD), a 47-year high, while U.S. exports of crude oil and refined products – up by nearly 1.0 MBD for 2017 – set new records.
“Historically, solid global and U.S. economic growth have set the stage for strong oil and gas industry activity,” said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman. “Upstream drilling began 2018 on a strong note with rigs up 35 percent from a year ago, and downstream refinery utilization of 94.8 percent in December was the third highest rate in more than 12 years. Oil demand goes hand-in-hand with economic growth, and leading economic indicators have continued to suggest expanding business conditions.”
Consumer gasoline demand, as measured by total motor gasoline deliveries, rose by 0.5 percent from a year ago to 9.3 MBD, which was the strongest December since 2006 and the highest annual gasoline deliveries on record. Consequently, annual 2017 gasoline demand was the highest on record and reflected a combination of solid economic growth and relatively low prices.
In December, U.S. crude oil production rose to 9.75 MBD, which was an increase of 11.1 percent from December 2016 and 0.6 percent versus November; this was the highest monthly output in nearly 47 years, since April 1971. For 2017, U.S. crude oil production increased by 4.9 percent from 2016 levels.
Natural gas liquids production, a co-product of natural gas production, achieved record output for the month of December at nearly 4.0 MBD, up by 6.3 percent from November, 17.8 percent from December 2016, and 5.7 percent for 2017. Additionally, U.S. dry natural gas production averaged a record-high 78.1 billion cubic feet per day during December 2017, which was up by 1.1 percent from November and 9.8 percent from December 2016.