Monthly Archives

January 1970

U.S. ethane consumption fell significantly in February because of severe cold weather (5/5/2021)

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Annual U.S. ethane consumption has increased every year since 2008 because demand for ethane as a petrochemical feedstock has been growing, and we expect this trend to continue through 2022, according to our Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). However, extreme winter weather in February 2021 in the Gulf Coast region—where most ethane in the United States is consumed—led to a decline in U.S. ethane consumption of 654,000 barrels per day (b/d) from January levels. February marks the largest single month decline in history, and this large decline is a result of ethylene cracker outages from the mid-February winter storm. Although most of the ethylene crackers used to process ethane came back online by mid-March, some remained offline through the end of the month and into the first week of April because the cold weather had severely damaged the facilities. …Annual U.S. ethane consumption has increased every year since 2008 because demand for ethane as a petrochemical feedstock has been growing, and we expect this trend to continue through 2022, according to our Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). However, extreme winter weather in February 2021 in the Gulf Coast region—where most ethane in the United States is consumed—led to a decline in U.S. ethane consumption of 654,000 barrels per day (b/d) from January levels. February marks the largest single month decline in history, and this large decline is a result of ethylene cracker outages from the mid-February winter storm. Although most of the ethylene crackers used to process ethane came back online by mid-March, some remained offline through the end of the month and into the first week of April because the cold weather had severely damaged the facilities. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC are down, but imports from Canada remain high (4/28/2021)

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Crude oil imports into the United States reached a peak in 2005, but they dropped 42% between 2005 and 2020 to an average of 5.9 million barrels per day (b/d), the lowest level since 1991. During this period, U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members decreased rapidly, but imports from non-OPEC members remained relatively high. In particular, crude oil imports from Canada more than doubled to an average of 3.6 million b/d. As a result, Canada’s share of total U.S. crude oil imports increased, reaching a record-high share of 61% in 2020. Weekly preliminary crude oil imports by country of origin (four-week rolling average) show that U.S. crude oil imports from Canada in 2021 (as of April 23) have been down only slightly from the same period in 2020. At the same time, imports from selected members of OPEC are down by 48%. (EIA does not collect weekly data on every member of OPEC.) Voluntary OPEC production cuts are contributing to lower U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members. The comparatively stable U.S. crude oil imports from Canada, however, are mostly the result of longer-term trends in Canada’s crude oil production and refining economics. …Crude oil imports into the United States reached a peak in 2005, but they dropped 42% between 2005 and 2020 to an average of 5.9 million barrels per day (b/d), the lowest level since 1991. During this period, U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members decreased rapidly, but imports from non-OPEC members remained relatively high. In particular, crude oil imports from Canada more than doubled to an average of 3.6 million b/d. As a result, Canada’s share of total U.S. crude oil imports increased, reaching a record-high share of 61% in 2020. Weekly preliminary crude oil imports by country of origin (four-week rolling average) show that U.S. crude oil imports from Canada in 2021 (as of April 23) have been down only slightly from the same period in 2020. At the same time, imports from selected members of OPEC are down by 48%. (EIA does not collect weekly data on every member of OPEC.) Voluntary OPEC production cuts are contributing to lower U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members. The comparatively stable U.S. crude oil imports from Canada, however, are mostly the result of longer-term trends in Canada’s crude oil production and refining economics. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

Increased U.S. air travel is beginning to increase jet fuel demand (4/21/2021)

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The number of U.S. air travel passengers has increased in recent weeks, which may be the result of normal seasonal increases, easing COVID-19 restrictions, and rising vaccination rates. Air travel passenger levels serve as a leading barometer of jet fuel demand, which increased consistently in late March and early April. Increasing U.S. air traffic will likely continue through the rest of the year as more people are vaccinated and as U.S. travelers become more comfortable with air travel. …The number of U.S. air travel passengers has increased in recent weeks, which may be the result of normal seasonal increases, easing COVID-19 restrictions, and rising vaccination rates. Air travel passenger levels serve as a leading barometer of jet fuel demand, which increased consistently in late March and early April. Increasing U.S. air traffic will likely continue through the rest of the year as more people are vaccinated and as U.S. travelers become more comfortable with air travel. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

Planned second-quarter 2021 refinery outages unlikely to significantly affect transportation fuel supplies (4/14/2021)

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According to EIA analysis, planned refinery outages during the second quarter of 2021 are unlikely to cause a significant shortfall in the supply of petroleum products in the United States, particularly transportation fuels including gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel. To avoid supply disruption, refiners usually schedule planned maintenance outages around late autumn or late winter, when U.S. demand for petroleum products is relatively low and product inventories or imports could cover the loss of supply caused by the planned outages. Despite the severe winter storm in mid-February and resulting unplanned refinery outages in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, adequate inventory levels and lower-than-average demand will enable refineries to meet supply requirements even with planned second-quarter refinery outages for maintenance. …According to EIA analysis, planned refinery outages during the second quarter of 2021 are unlikely to cause a significant shortfall in the supply of petroleum products in the United States, particularly transportation fuels including gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate fuel. To avoid supply disruption, refiners usually schedule planned maintenance outages around late autumn or late winter, when U.S. demand for petroleum products is relatively low and product inventories or imports could cover the loss of supply caused by the planned outages. Despite the severe winter storm in mid-February and resulting unplanned refinery outages in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, adequate inventory levels and lower-than-average demand will enable refineries to meet supply requirements even with planned second-quarter refinery outages for maintenance. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

Summer gasoline consumption expected to increase from 2020 but remain below 2019 levels (4/7/2021)

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In EIA’s April Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), we expect the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to significantly affect petroleum markets in the summer of 2021. However, markets will be less affected than they were last summer, and we expect COVID-19 impacts will diminish through 2021 as an increasing portion of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19. In the April STEO, vaccinations and fiscal stimulus support continuing economic recovery, which drives petroleum demand growth. We expect prices and consumption of gasoline and distillate fuel to be up from last summer (Figure 1). We consider the summer season for gasoline and diesel fuel to run from April through September. …In EIA’s April Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), we expect the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to significantly affect petroleum markets in the summer of 2021. However, markets will be less affected than they were last summer, and we expect COVID-19 impacts will diminish through 2021 as an increasing portion of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19. In the April STEO, vaccinations and fiscal stimulus support continuing economic recovery, which drives petroleum demand growth. We expect prices and consumption of gasoline and distillate fuel to be up from last summer (Figure 1). We consider the summer season for gasoline and diesel fuel to run from April through September. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

U.S. Virgin Islands refinery resumes operation after being inactive since 2012 (3/31/2021)

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On February 1, 2021, Limetree Bay Ventures, LLC, announced that it had resumed refining operations at the long-idled Kingshill refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hovensa, LLC, previously owned and operated the refinery before shuttering it in 2012. Limetree Bay Ventures acquired the facility in 2016, intending to resume refinery operations. Although the COVID-19 pandemic in the continental United States and U.S. Virgin Islands caused some disruptions in the refinery’s scheduled restart, the company confirmed that the facility has resumed operations and will begin supplying refined products to the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean markets, and elsewhere. …On February 1, 2021, Limetree Bay Ventures, LLC, announced that it had resumed refining operations at the long-idled Kingshill refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hovensa, LLC, previously owned and operated the refinery before shuttering it in 2012. Limetree Bay Ventures acquired the facility in 2016, intending to resume refinery operations. Although the COVID-19 pandemic in the continental United States and U.S. Virgin Islands caused some disruptions in the refinery’s scheduled restart, the company confirmed that the facility has resumed operations and will begin supplying refined products to the U.S. East Coast, Caribbean markets, and elsewhere. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

Annual exports of transportation fuels from the United States decreased in 2020, but trade varied by product (3/24/2021)

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Substantial disruptions in global demand for refined product in 2020 arising from responses to the COVID-19 pandemic had a mixed effect on refined product trade in the United States, according to complete monthly data for the year published in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly. Total U.S. refined product exports decreased in 2020, falling to their lowest point for the year in May. Decreased U.S. demand for transportation fuels also contributed to reduced annual imports, primarily of gasoline. During the second half of the year, net gasoline exports (exports minus imports) increased compared with the first half of 2020. Conversely, rising imports of distillate fuel oil in the second half of 2020 led to a decrease in net exports for that fuel. In 2020, the United States was a net importer of jet fuel for the first time in a decade. …Substantial disruptions in global demand for refined product in 2020 arising from responses to the COVID-19 pandemic had a mixed effect on refined product trade in the United States, according to complete monthly data for the year published in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly. Total U.S. refined product exports decreased in 2020, falling to their lowest point for the year in May. Decreased U.S. demand for transportation fuels also contributed to reduced annual imports, primarily of gasoline. During the second half of the year, net gasoline exports (exports minus imports) increased compared with the first half of 2020. Conversely, rising imports of distillate fuel oil in the second half of 2020 led to a decrease in net exports for that fuel. In 2020, the United States was a net importer of jet fuel for the first time in a decade. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

China processed more crude oil than net inputs of crude oil to U.S. refineries for several months in 2020 (3/17/2021)

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In April 2020, refinery processing of crude oil in China was higher than net inputs of crude oil to U.S. refineries for the first month on record, and that trend continued for all remaining months in 2020 except for July and August (Figure 1). China’s National Bureau of Statistics only reports the country’s processing volume of crude oil, and the most direct comparison to the United States is refinery net inputs of crude oil. U.S. refiners also report total gross inputs into distillation units, which includes non-crude liquids such as lease condensate and unfinished oils, making gross inputs about 0.5 million barrels per day (b/d) higher than crude oil net inputs. China’s crude oil processing also exceeded U.S. gross inputs in both May and October 2020. China processed more crude oil than the United States not only because of the unique effects of the pandemic-related restrictions in 2020, but also the differences in the longer term structural trends in refining between the two countries. …In April 2020, refinery processing of crude oil in China was higher than net inputs of crude oil to U.S. refineries for the first month on record, and that trend continued for all remaining months in 2020 except for July and August (Figure 1). China’s National Bureau of Statistics only reports the country’s processing volume of crude oil, and the most direct comparison to the United States is refinery net inputs of crude oil. U.S. refiners also report total gross inputs into distillation units, which includes non-crude liquids such as lease condensate and unfinished oils, making gross inputs about 0.5 million barrels per day (b/d) higher than crude oil net inputs. China’s crude oil processing also exceeded U.S. gross inputs in both May and October 2020. China processed more crude oil than the United States not only because of the unique effects of the pandemic-related restrictions in 2020, but also the differences in the longer term structural trends in refining between the two countries. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

OPEC production restraint will lower global inventories, but higher prices will stimulate U.S. crude oil production (3/10/2021)

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At their March 4 meeting, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) announced they would maintain crude oil production cuts through April, except for relatively small production increases from Russia and Kazakhstan. The announcement also noted that Saudi Arabia would maintain its additional 1.0 million barrel per day (b/d) voluntary production cut through the end of April. In February 2021, OPEC+ cuts, combined with supply disruptions in the United States, contributed to monthly global petroleum inventory withdrawals that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates totaled 3.7 million b/d, the largest monthly withdrawal since December 2002. The Brent crude oil futures price averaged $63 per barrel (b) in early March leading up to the OPEC+ meeting, and the OPEC+ announcement put further upward pressure on crude oil prices. Front-month Brent futures briefly surpassed $70/b in intraday trading in the days following the announcement, not only because of the announcement but also because of an attack on the Ras Tanura oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on March 7. As a result of the extension of OPEC+ production cuts, EIA expects draws on global petroleum and other liquids inventories of 1.8 million b/d and 0.6 million b/d in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively, according to EIA’s March Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) (Figure 1). …At their March 4 meeting, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) announced they would maintain crude oil production cuts through April, except for relatively small production increases from Russia and Kazakhstan. The announcement also noted that Saudi Arabia would maintain its additional 1.0 million barrel per day (b/d) voluntary production cut through the end of April. In February 2021, OPEC+ cuts, combined with supply disruptions in the United States, contributed to monthly global petroleum inventory withdrawals that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates totaled 3.7 million b/d, the largest monthly withdrawal since December 2002. The Brent crude oil futures price averaged $63 per barrel (b) in early March leading up to the OPEC+ meeting, and the OPEC+ announcement put further upward pressure on crude oil prices. Front-month Brent futures briefly surpassed $70/b in intraday trading in the days following the announcement, not only because of the announcement but also because of an attack on the Ras Tanura oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on March 7. As a result of the extension of OPEC+ production cuts, EIA expects draws on global petroleum and other liquids inventories of 1.8 million b/d and 0.6 million b/d in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively, according to EIA’s March Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) (Figure 1). …EIA: This Week in Petroleum

U.S. crude oil production in 2020 fell for first time since 2016 (3/3/2021)

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Crude oil production in the United States increased in 8 of the past 10 years. In 2020, however, responses to COVID-19 contributed to the rapid decline in demand for refined petroleum products. As a result, crude oil prices fell to their lowest annual average since 2003, refinery runs decreased, and crude oil production was curtailed, which is documented in the complete set of final 2020 monthly data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently released Petroleum Supply Monthly (Figure 1). Crude oil production in the United States in 2020 fell to its lowest monthly average during May when it was 10 million barrels per day (b/d), and it remained less than 11.0 million b/d until November. In 2020, U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.3 million b/d, 0.9 million b/d less than in 2019. …Crude oil production in the United States increased in 8 of the past 10 years. In 2020, however, responses to COVID-19 contributed to the rapid decline in demand for refined petroleum products. As a result, crude oil prices fell to their lowest annual average since 2003, refinery runs decreased, and crude oil production was curtailed, which is documented in the complete set of final 2020 monthly data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently released Petroleum Supply Monthly (Figure 1). Crude oil production in the United States in 2020 fell to its lowest monthly average during May when it was 10 million barrels per day (b/d), and it remained less than 11.0 million b/d until November. In 2020, U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.3 million b/d, 0.9 million b/d less than in 2019. …EIA: This Week in Petroleum