U.S. Oil Imports Fell as Output Rose in October, API Says

Total U.S. imports of crude and fuel in October fell to the lowest level for the month since 1995 as domestic output surged, the American Petroleum Institute said.

The U.S. shale boom sent crude production to the highest level in more than four decades last month, moving the country closer to energy independence. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

“The supply picture has improved thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said by phone. “People first started saying we were running out of oil in 1874 when it was used for kerosene lighting. We never have and as an economist, I can say we never will.”

Total imports fell 5.3 percent from a year earlier to 9.1 million barrels a day in October, the industry-funded group said today in a monthly report. Crude output rose 17 percent to 8.99 million barrels a day. Production of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed 13 percent to 3.13 million barrels a day, an October record.

Production of gasoline advanced 0.4 percent to 9.52 million barrels a day last month, a record for the month. Output of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, slipped 3.7 percent to 4.64 million.

Gasoline Consumption

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, slipped 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 19.3 million barrels a day in October. Demand increased for gasoline and jet fuel, while consumption of distillate fuel dropped.

Gasoline consumption increased 0.3 percent to 8.97 million barrels a day, the highest level for the month since 2010. Jet fuel consumption rose 1.5 percent to 1.48 million.

Demand for distillate fuel, which includes diesel and heating oil, tumbled 6.2 percent to 3.79 million. Consumption of residual oil, used for commercial and industrial heating, electricity generation and ship propulsion, dropped 11 percent to 273,000 barrels a day.

“The only number that has me puzzled is distillate demand,” Felmy said.

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