U.S. crude production rose to 10.2 million barrels per day (MBD) in January – the highest monthly output on record, according to API’s monthly statistical report. This was an increase of 1.1 percent versus December and 15.1 percent from January 2017.

“In Olympic fashion, U.S. crude oil production scored a perfect “10” in January,” said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman. “Record production of 10.2 MBD combined with a new high for refinery throughput, plus 6.3 MBD of crude oil and refined product exports, helped to narrow the price difference between U.S. and international crude prices last month, which reinforced the increasingly pivotal role of U.S. energy.”

As U.S. crude exports rose, the price premium of international Brent crude oil prices above domestic West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil narrowed to $3.50 per barrel as of February 5th from $5.38 per barrel at the end of January and $6.50 per barrel in December.

Separately, natural gas liquids production sustained near-record output in January at 4.0 MBD, which was an increase of 18.4 percent versus January 2017. According to the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, released February 6, 2018, U.S. dry natural gas production averaged 77.6 billion cubic feet per day during January, which was up 9.9 percent from January 2017.

In addition to strong output and exports, U.S. petroleum demand, as measured by total domestic petroleum deliveries, rose to 20.3 million barrels a day in January, which was an increase of 5.5 percent compared with January 2017. It was the strongest January monthly demand since 2007.

Product highlights:

  • Consumer gasoline demand rose by 3.0 percent y/y to 8.8 MBD, which reflected how increases in economic growth and income have trumped the rise in crude oil and gasoline prices.
  • With indicators of solid industrial activity and freight transportation, January distillate demand eclipsed 4.1 MBD, which was an increase of 0.8 percent versus December and 9.0 percent compared with January 2017. The 9.0 percent year to year increase marked a reversal of three years of declines for the month.
  • Residual fuel oil, which is used for electric power production, space heating, vessel bunkering and other industrial applications, fell to 284 thousand barrels per day (KBD) in January. This represented decreases of 35.2 percent from December and 38.3 percent versus January 2017 and suggested increased natural gas substitution.
  • “Other oils” – liquid petrochemical feedstocks, naphtha and gasoil – demand of 5.5 MBD was the highest monthly demand on record and second highest share of total monthly deliveries since 1965.