EIA: This Week in Petroleum - 05 September 2019 - eng Избранное

Четверг, 05 сентября 2019 21:28

U.S. distillate consumption lower in 2019 after record growth last year

U.S. total distillate consumption, as measured by product supplied, has been approximately 1.2% lower during the first eight months of 2019 than it was during the same period in 2018. Distillate fuel is linked with economic growth because of its many uses in multiple sectors. Distillate is used by multiple transportation modes as a fuel to move freight and people, by commercial and industrial heavy machinery to build and produce goods, in agriculture for farming, and in residential and commercial sectors as a heating fuel. Trends in several of these end-use sectors explain some of the reasons behind slowing demand growth for distillate fuel in the United States.

Recent monthly and weekly total distillate product supplied data indicate declining U.S. consumption. Examining changes in product supplied over time reveals that the 3-month moving average of year-over-year growth in U.S. distillate product supplied has been negative since May 2019, and the 12-month moving average shows flat year-over-year growth according to the latest monthly-from-weekly data in August (Figure 1). In comparison, the 12-month moving average year-over-year growth of U.S. distillate consumption was stronger in August 2018 at 175,000 barrels per day (b/d).

Figure 1. U.S. year-over-year change in total distillate product supplied

Distillate use varies widely by geography and U.S. Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) because of region-specific industries and weather patterns. The Midwest (PADD 2) has the largest regional consumption of distillate, with average product supplied of 1.28 million b/d in 2018, closely followed by the East Coast (PADD 1), with a product supplied of 1.26 million b/d. In all regions, on-highway transportation consumes the largest amount of distillate. Both light- and heavy-duty vehicles accounted for 69% of total U.S. distillate end use in 2017, the latest data available. After on-highway transportation, farming and railroad transportation are the second- and third-largest end uses for distillate in the United States (Figure 2).

Figure 2. U.S. total distillate sales/deliveries to end users 2017

Long-distance trucking is the main driver of on-highway consumption of distillate fuel in the United States, which in turn closely correlates with economic growth and industrial activity. In 2018, trucking freight, as measured by the truck tonnage index (adjusted for seasonal factors), indicated strong year-over-year growth, which contributed to higher U.S. distillate consumption. However, 2019 year-to-date truck tonnage index data indicate slower growth than in 2018 (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Truck tonnage indes year-over-year change

In 2019, U.S. distillate fuel use in agriculture is also likely to be lower than in 2018. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, heavy rainfall and flooding prevented farmers from planting cash crops on a record 19 million acres of farmland in August, a significantly larger area than in recent years (Figure 4). Nearly 77% of the prevented planted acres are located in the Midwest where regional distillate sales for farming are highest, representing nearly 60% of U.S. distillate sales for farm use, at an average of 121,000 b/d in 2017. The implications for a large area of prevented planting will vary by region and crop, but a large area of prevented planting acres generally suggests less intensive use of distillate this crop season because acres without a cash crop are less likely to be sprayed, fertilized, or to require other activities that use distillate fueled heavy equipment.

Figure 4. Total prevented planting acres in August

Most long-distance locomotives hauling freight trains consume distillate as a fuel. Recent indicators of rail freight traffic indicate that consumption in 2019 of distillate from this sector will also be weaker compared with 2018. Seasonally adjusted year-over-year changes in both freight carloads and intermodal traffic indicators have both been negative since February 2019 (Figure 5). Reduced intermodal traffic, which involves moving shipping containers across ships, trains, and trucks, could also reduce on-highway consumption because shipping containers typically travel the last mile of their journey by truck.

Figure 5. Railroad freight traffic year-over-year change

U.S. consumption of distillate fuel for space heating demand, particularly in the northeastern states of the East Coast (PADD 1), is the largest contributor to residential consumption of distillate fuel. However, because there is little to no U.S. demand for heating fuels during the summer, residential demand for distillate heating fuel is unlikely to have been a large contributing factor in the slowing demand growth for distillate in 2019. In addition, East Coast residential consumption of distillate fuel has decreased from 360,000 b/d (a 35% share) of regional sales/deliveries in 1985 to 180,000 b/d (15%) of sales/deliveries in 2017, leading to reduced seasonality in U.S. distillate consumption.

Although making up only 1.9% of distillate sales in 2017, distillate consumption by oil companies—including drilling companies, pipelines, and other related oil companies not engaged in the selling of petroleum products—will also be lower in 2019 than in 2018. Oil company distillate consumption is closely correlated with oil and gas drilling because active oil and gas rigs use distillate for onsite power generation and other activities. Drilling activity in 2019 is lower than at the same time in 2018, with 144 fewer active rigs in the United States as of August 30, according to Baker Hughes.

U.S. average regular gasoline and diesel prices fall

The U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell 1 cent from the previous week to $2.56 per gallon on September 2, 26 cents lower than the same time last year. The Gulf Coast price fell nearly 4 cents to $2.23 per gallon, the Midwest price fell more than 3 cents to $2.46 per gallon, the Rocky Mountain price fell more than 2 cents to $2.63 per gallon, and the East Coast price fell less than 1 cent, remaining at $2.48 per gallon. The West Coast price rose more than 2 cents to $3.25 per gallon.

The U.S. average diesel fuel price fell nearly 1 cent, remaining at $2.98 per gallon on September 2, 28 cents lower than a year ago. The Midwest price fell nearly 2 cents to $2.87 per gallon, the Rocky Mountain price fell more than 1 cent to $2.92 per gallon, and the West Coast, East Coast, and Gulf Coast prices each fell less than 1 cent, remaining at $3.56 per gallon, $3.00 per gallon and $2.74 per gallon, respectively.

Propane/propylene inventories rise

U.S. propane/propylene stocks increased by 2.9 million barrels last week to 97.0 million barrels as of August 30, 2019, 12.2 million barrels (14.3%) greater than the five-year (2014-18) average inventory levels for this same time of year. Gulf Coast, Midwest, East Coast, and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels, 0.6 million barrels, 0.4 million barrels, and 0.2 million barrels, respectively. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 4.3% of total propane/propylene inventories.

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Retail prices (dollars per gallon)

Conventional Regular Gasoline Prices Graph. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices Graph.
 Retail pricesChange from last
Gasoline 2.563 -0.011 -0.261
Diesel 2.976 -0.007 -0.276

Futures prices (dollars per gallon*)

Crude Oil Futures Price Graph. RBOB Regular Gasoline Futures Price Graph. Heating Oil Futures Price Graph.
 Futures pricesChange from last
Crude oil 55.10 0.93 -14.70
Gasoline 1.613 -0.030 -0.531
Heating oil 1.828 0.012 -0.413
*Note: Crude oil price in dollars per barrel.

Stocks (million barrels)

U.S. Crude Oil Stocks Graph. U.S. Distillate Stocks Graph. U.S. Gasoline Stocks Graph. U.S. Propane Stocks Graph.
 StocksChange from last
Crude oil 423.0 -4.8 21.5
Gasoline 229.6 -2.4 -5.0
Distillate 133.5 -2.5 0.4
Propane 97.019 2.862 23.615


 StocksChange from last
Crude oil 427.8 -10.0 22.0
Gasoline 232.0 -2.1 -0.8
Distillate 136.1 -2.1 6.1
Propane 94.157 3.661 22.757
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