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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Europe Now Imports More U.S. Oil Than Asia

  • Russia’s war in Ukraine has created a drastic change in global energy flows.
  • Europe is importing more U.S. oil than Asia for the first time in six years.
  • U.S. oil might not be enough to fill the gap left by Russian oil once the European Union embargo on the latter takes effect later this year.

Europe has overtaken Asia as the biggest buyer of U.S. crude oil, importing 213.1 million barrels over the first five months of the year, while Asia imported 191.1 million barrels, Bloomberg reported, citing Census Bureau data.

This is the first time in six years that Europe has been a bigger buyer of U.S. crude than Asia.

The change resulted from the redirection of oil flows following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that the European Union and the United States imposed on Moscow in response.

However, U.S. oil might not be enough to fill the gap left by Russian oil once the European Union embargo on the latter takes effect later this year. According to one energy analyst, this means the EU would need to step up imports from Asia.

Jonathan Leitch from Turner Mason & Company believes that the shortfall in oil imports from Russia to the EU could be more than 700,000 bpd, and the EU would need to find new sources to plug the gap.

China and India could be among these sources, Leitch told UBS in a recent call, but both countries are putting limits on exports as they seek to lower domestic oil and fuel prices. Related: Could Argentina’s Dead Cow Shale Patch Help Solve The Energy Crisis?

What the suggestion means, however, is that neither the United States nor the Middle Eastern OPEC producers could step in fast enough to fill the gap.

According to Christopher Haines from Energy Aspects, who spoke to Bloomberg, the substantial rate of U.S. oil imports into Europe will remain unchanged over the short term as the EU reduces its reliance on Russian oil.

The problem, both for Europe and Asia, is that U.S. production of crude is not growing fast enough to respond to demand in the two regions. This, coupled with doubts about OPEC’s ability to boost production, suggests prices are likely to remain elevated.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 15 2022 said:
    This isn’t of any significance since Asia is buying increasing volumes of Russian oil. Moreover US oil exports to Europe averaging 1.42 million barrels a day (mbd) in the last five months hardly replace banned Russia seaborne crude to Europe estimated 1.95 mbd.

    Meanwhile, the US is currently importing more than 9.1 mbd and these are projected to rise to more than 9.5 mbd by 2023. Moreover, the US exports an estimated 3.0 mbd of extra light oil to be used as diluent in refineries and imports medium to heavy crude to which American refineries are tooled to refine.

    What the United States calls crude exports are no more than a trade-off between American extra light crude and medium to heavy crudes from elsewhere.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • George Doolittle on July 15 2022 said:
    The USA can export coal still to Europe...an odd thing to say of course but very much true. Natural gas remains far more valuable a product which perhaps was proved out by today's material jump in price of that commodity. The USA has a truly awesome inflation problem at the moment with hopefully the US Federal Reserve prepared to hike rates accordingly this Month.

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