US Crude Oil production Continues at Four-Year Highs

US crude oil production for October averaged 5.36 million barrels per day, continuing at levels not seen since 2005, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Monthly Statistical Report.

Crude production from the Lower 48 states averaged 4.67 million barrels per day, up from both last year and prior months. Even though crude production last October had recovered from precautionary platform shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico in the face of hurricanes Gustav and Ike last September, output levels then were still lower than this October’s by nearly 15%. Meanwhile, Alaskan output, at 696,000 barrels per day, slipped from last October by 2.8% but rebounded from this summer’s lows of less than 600,000 barrels per day.

The October production figures continue to detail the industry’s success story in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly the deep waters, as well as the way new technologies have helped bring on new production both offshore and onshore.

—API Statistics Manager Ron Planting

On the demand side, gasoline deliveries for October showed their first decline since May, dropping 0.5 percent from last October’s delivery surge that followed hurricane-related supply interruptions of September 2008. However, had deliveries a year ago followed a pattern more in line with historical patterns, API estimates that this year’s gasoline deliveries for October would have shown their fifth year-to-year increase in a row—though perhaps by only about one half of one percent.

Distillate deliveries’ year-to-year declines, which had been moderating in recent months, returned to the double-digit range in October, with an 11.4% drop from a year ago. Even if there had been a more normal delivery pattern last year, this October’s decline still would have likely averaged some 7%, according to API. Economic indicators continue to suggest that demand for diesel-powered freight traffic is down substantially. The Federal Reserve Board’s industrial production index, for example, was flat for October and was still running more than 7% below year-ago levels.

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