U.S. Gasoline Consumption Up, Shale Oil Production Down

By: David Yager, National Leader Oilfield Services

Originally published in MNP's Oilfield Services News - June 23, 2015

On June 17, Bloomber News reported U.S. gasoline consumption in the first quarter of 2015 was 100,000 barrels per day higher than Energy Information Administration estimates of 8.71 million b/d for the period. American drivers apparently travelled a record 720.1 billion miles in the first three months this year, a distance Bloomberg described as "...3,900 return trips to the sun."

The article said the U.S. economy added 3.1 million jobs in 2014, the most since 1999, which should translate into a robust summer driving season when Americans hit the road for summer vacations. Despite recent price increases following higher crude prices, gasoline is selling for about a dollar a gallon less than a year ago. Refineries on the Gulf Coast of Mexico processed record amounts of crude for the week ended June 2. U.S. refineries are running at an average 95% capacity and refining is so profitable at the moment refiners are delaying scheduled maintenance. 

Meanwhile, U.S. shale oil production is declining. Estimates for crude production from the Bakken and Eagle Ford for July will see output fall to 5.49 million b/d, down nearly 100,000 b/d from estimates for June. These declines are expected to continue until drilling picks up, which hasn't happened yet. 

World oil prices, however, continue to be haunted in the business press by threats of production increases from Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. 

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