Despite falling rig counts and continued price volatility the U.S. petroleum sector posted a record breaking May.
U.S. petroleum demand climbed 5.4. percent in May, the biggest gain this year, the American Petroleum Institute said.
According to API, total U.S. petroleum deliveries grew by 5.4 percent last month from May 2014 to average 19.5 million barrels per day.
“Fuel demand was up across the board last month, but stocks of crude oil and gasoline remained elevated thanks to robust production. Activity in the refining sector was particularly strong, setting several new records for the month of May,” API Chief Economist John Felmy said.
Gasoline demand grew by 2.5 percent compared to May 2014, reaching just above 9.2 million barrels per day.
Distillate deliveries hit a new record for the month, up by 4.5 percent from the prior year to average 4.1 million barrels per day.
Over the same period, demand also rose by 11.5 percent for jet fuel, 1.3 percent for residual fuel and 13.8 percent for “other oils.”
U.S. crude production rose to nearly 9.6 million barrels per day in May, a 10.7 percent spike from May 2014, but changed only slightly from April with an increase of 0.3 percent.
Year to date domestic crude oil production was 13.8 percent above the same period in 2014, the highest production level since May 1972, API said.
Natural gas liquids production in May averaged nearly 3.2 million barrels per day, a 10.4 percent jump over last year.
“Natural gas liquids production last month was the highest May level on record and just one thousand barrels shy of the all-time record set in October 2014,” API said.
U.S. total petroleum imports dropped 3.1 percent in May from the prior year to average nearly 9.1 million barrels per day, the lowest level since 1995.
Crude oil imports fell by 2.4 percent from the prior year, sliding to just below 7.0 million barrels per day for the first time since February 1996 and hitting the lowest May level since 1993.
Imports of refined products were down 5.5 percent from May 2014 to about 2.1 million barrels per day, the lowest level for the month since 1996.
According to the report, gasoline production set a new record for the month of May, growing 0.2 percent from last year to an average of 9.8 million barrels per day.
Refinery gross inputs in May jumped by 1.7 percent from last year to a record high for the month of 16.5 million barrels per day.
Exports of refined petroleum products were up by 5.3 percent from May 2014 to average 4.3 million barrels per day–the highest May level ever.
The refinery capacity utilization rate last month averaged above 90.0 percent for the second time this year at 92.0 percent.
This was up 0.6 of a percentage point from April, and up 1.8 percentage points from the May 2014.
API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.873 million barrels per day.
Crude oil stocks ended the month averaging at nearly 476.0 million barrels, up by 20.8 percent from the prior year to reach the highest May inventory level since 1930.