The latest data shows the US now exports crude oil to more destinations than it imports from. The change is another key indicator of the growth in US crude oil exports in the last 10 years
Crude oil exports from the USA in the first seven months of 2019 reached as many as 31 different destinations (countries, territories, autonomous region) per month. This overtakes the 27 destinations that were the source of crude oil imports in the first seven months of 2019, according to the latest report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2009, the United States imported crude oil from as many as of 37 sources per month.
This rise in US export destinations coincides with the late 2015 lifting of restrictions on exporting domestic crude oil. Before the restrictions were lifted, US crude oil exports almost exclusively went to Canada. Between January 2016 (the first full month of unrestricted US crude oil exports) and July 2019, US crude oil production increased by 2.6M b/d, and export volumes increased by 2.2M b/d (EIA data).
The crude oil exports are being driven by demand for the sweet (lower sulphur) crude oil produced from the Permian Basin in the US from a wider range of destinations. Refineries are demanding sweeter crude oils to produce low sulphur marine fuels in the run up to IMO 2020 sulphur cap on marine fuel. In addition, most US refineries are geared towards processing medium and heavy sour crude oils produced by the traditional export destinations. This releases home-grown crude oil for export.
The growth in demand has led to new or refurbished crude oil export terminals in ports such as Corpus Christi and the reversing or refurbishment of pipelines between the production areas and the terminals.
Hear more on the changes in US crude oil exports at the 2019 Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Exhibition and Awards. Voting is now open for the Awards. See the nomination form here.