" --> Analysis – March

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Domestic sales of refined petroleum products in March 2009 totalled 8.0 million cubic metres, down 552.0 thousand cubic metres or 6.5 % from the same month a year earlier.

The decrease in domestic sales of refined petroleum products March 2009 was largely due to a decreased demand for petro chemicals, (-38.2 %), light fuel oil (-22.0 %), heavy fuel oil (-18.8 %) and diesel fuel (-8.0 %).

Regular unleaded motor gasoline sales which represented about 90% of total gasoline sales increased slightly from March 2008. Premium increased 8.9 % while mid-grade declined by 5.8 % compared to March 2008.

Canadian refineries produced 10.2 million cubic metres of refined petroleum products in March 2009, an increase of 462.3 thousand cubic metres or 4.8 % from the same month a year earlier.

The increase was led primarily by increased production of motor gasoline and diesel fuel. Motor gasoline which represented about 36 % of total refinery production was up 12.0 % compared to the same month a year earlier while diesel fuel production increased 6.0 %. Asphalt production increased 15.6 % from March 2008.

Refineries took 8.6 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent in March 2009, up 364.9 or 4.5 % from March 2008. Domestic crude oils receipts were down 312.3 thousand cubic metres or 6.2 %. Imports representing 45.0 % of total receipts were up 677.2 thousand cubic metres or 21.3 %.

OPEC accounted for 46.9 % of total crude oil and equivalent imports in March 2009. North Sea producers (Norway and the United Kingdom) supplied 34.9 % of import requirements, up slightly from a year earlier.

Crude oil and refined petroleum product inventories held by refineries and major distributors closed March 2009 at 14.5 million cubic metres, down 384.5 thousand cubic metres or 2.6 % from the close of the same month a year earlier.

Of this volume, crude oil and equivalent inventories totaled 3.0 million cubic metres, down 15.3 % from March 2008. Refined petroleum product inventories were up by 1.3 % to 11.6 million cubic metres from the same period a year earlier.

Motor gasoline and diesel fuel oil together accounted for 41.9 % of total product inventories in March 2009. The "other products" category composed of mainly unfinished products accounted for an additional 34.3 %.