U.S. oil demand rose in December to its highest level since before the coronavirus pandemic began, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday, with product supplied nearing 21 million barrels per day (bpd).
Overall fuel demand was up 10% year-on-year in December at 20.8 million bpd, its highest since August 2019. Product supplied is a proxy for consumer demand since it mostly reflects fuels processed from U.S. crude oil for consumption and export.
The rapid increase in U.S. oil demand while output remains slow to return to record highs, has forced energy firms to pull massive amount of crude from storage over the past year and helped boost oil futures to their highest since 2014.
Crude oil output slipped by about 206,000 bpd to 11.57 million bpd in December, the EIA said in its Petroleum Supply Monthly report. That is about 9% below the 12.83 million bpd produced before the pandemic in February 2020.
Crude stockpiles at the Cushing storage hub in Oklahoma, the delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange’s (NYMEX) oil futures contract, have dropped to their lowest since September 2018, according to EIA’s weekly Petroleum Status Report last week. read more
U.S. crude exports, meanwhile, rose to 3.45 million bpd in December.
Monthly gross natural gas production in the U.S. Lower 48 states rose 0.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) to a record 108.3 bcfd in December, the EIA said in its monthly 914 production report.
That was the second month in a row that Lower 48 gross gas output hit a record high. The previous all-time high was 108.2 bcfd in November.
In top gas producing states, monthly output rose 0.6% in Texas to a record 30.3 bcfd and 1.1% in Pennsylvania to a record 22.0 bcfd.