As the EU contends with the lack of Russian crude oil as a result of its restrictions on crude oil imports and the G7's price ceiling on Russian crude oil, the amount of U.S. crude oil being exported to Europe has increased significantly in recent months.
And it is expected to stay high.
Lucky for Europe, any decreases in the amount of Russian crude oil shipped into the EU is likely to be largely offset by the increase in the volume of American crude oil. In 2022 alone, total U.S. oil shipments to Europe increased by around 70% above 2021 levels, CME Group said, ultimately reaching 1.75 million barrels per day.
Russian crude oil exports to the EU, likewise, fell to 1.4 million bpd in November 2022.
This shifting crude oil landscape will reinforce the WTI’s place as part of the Brent forward contract. As of June of this year, WTI will be used as one of the crude streams in the Dated Brent pricing mechanism, according to CME, as the volumes that make up BFOET crude oil in the North Sea market change as production continues to fall.
For perspective, the CME Group reports that “the total volume of U.S. crude exported to Europe in October 2022 was around 865,000 barrels per day more than the volume loaded at the existing North Sea crude terminals for the grades that underpin the Brent contract.”
Trading in WTI-linked futures is picking up steam ahead of the June 2023 date, with some WTI Midland contracts trading as far ahead as December 2026. As of December last year, open interest throughout WTI Midland and WTI Houston had increased by 60,000 lots to 300,000 contracts, CME said.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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