I continue to see reports each week that declare that the end of the oil age is at hand. But at some point, the models and projections have to be reconciled with the data. Although projections continue to abound about peak oil demand, the data continue to suggest otherwise.
Last week the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that total U.S. petroleum deliveries in April averaged 19.6 million barrels per day (BPD). This represented the highest April deliveries in nine years. Gasoline deliveries in April moved up 0.6% from April 2016 to average nearly 9.3 million BPD, which marked the highest April deliveries on record.
Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are largely consistent with these numbers. After a period of decline that began in 2008 — in the face of the housing crisis and $100/bbl oil — U.S. petroleum demand has now risen every year since 2012. Based on growth over the past couple of years, this year could see average demand climb back to 20 million BPD — the highest level since 2007.
Globally, the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that this year and next year will look like the past seven years, with oil demand growing by at least a million BPD each year, and setting new all-time highs every year.
In fact, demand has grown at that pace for about 35 years.
U.S. refinery throughput has also risen every year since 2009. In 2014 throughout rose above 16 million BPD for the first time, and this year the weekly average has breached 17 million BPD for the first time (on several occasions). A growing volume of this refinery throughout is destined for the export market. Exports of finished products like distillate and gasoline have tripled in the past decade to reach more than three million BPD.