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PIRA Energy has predicted that U.S. crude oil exports will top 2 million barrels by 2020, reaching 2.25 million bpd. That’s more than what most OPEC members export, the FT notes, citing the research company’s figures. As of 2016, the U.S. average daily export rate was just 520,000 bpd, although in May, the average daily was 1.02 million barrels, after the 1-million-bpd mark was passed early in the year.
PIRA Energy’s global head of oil, Gary Ross, told the FT, “This is very bad news for OPEC.” Such a daily rate will give the U.S. a place among the world’s top 10 exporters, said Ross, adding that “They’re not about to control production in an effort to keep prices up.” In other words, by 2020, the U.S. will become an even more formidable oil foe of OPEC than it already is, as the U.S. is the world’s top consumer of the commodity with significant market-swinging power.
At the moment, PIRA also said, the oil export capacity along the Gulf Coast is about 2.7 million bpd, in 22 terminals. This should be boosted by another 600,000 bpd in new capacity, to come on stream by the end of next year.
The main buyers of U.S. oil are Asian and European economies, although crude is also being shipped to Latin America. In May, Canada was the biggest market of U.S. crude exports, taking in 372,000 bpd, according to Census Bureau figures. U.S. oil exports to China stood at 147,000 bpd, and U.S. crude exports to the Netherlands came in at 108,000 bpd. Other countries to which the U.S. exported crude oil in smaller quantities included Malaysia, the UK, Colombia, Curacao, Peru, Bahamas, Spain, Norway, Italy, France, South Korea, Japan, and Argentina.
Global oil traders including Trafigura, Mercuria, and Vitol are increasingly turning to U.S. shale oil, inking long-term supply deals and buying assets to expand their presence in the shale patch – one further sign that U.S. crude exports are set for a continual rise.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.