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Huge WTI-Brent Spread Boosts U.S. Crude Exports

oil tank farm

CNBC published an article late last week based on our ClipperData, highlighting how deliveries of U.S. crude grades into China climbed to a record in November.

As U.S. crude and product export markets evolve, new patterns in loadings, destinations, grades and purchasing present themselves in our granular data.

As the chart below illustrates, U.S. crude has arrived at ten different Chinese ports so far this year, with the most heading to the northern port of Qingdao - home to the majority of Chinese independent refiners. The port has discharged a variety of different U.S. grades, including Bakken, Mars, Midland WTI, Southern Green Canyon and Thunderhorse.

Total receipts of U.S. crude into China last month climbed to just shy of 300,000 bpd:

(Click to enlarge)

As the Brent/WTI spread widened out post-Hurricane Harvey in September, an increasingly discounted price for domestic crude has encouraged more barrels to leave the country. October's export loadings correspondingly climbed to a record of 1.4 million barrels per day.

Not only have more barrels headed to Asia, but also to Europe. U.S. crude export loadings bound for Europe jumped to nearly 600,000 bpd in October. Eight European countries have received U.S. crude this year. While the U.K. is the leading European recipient in terms of volume this year (with crude predominantly heading to Exxon's Fawley refinery and Valero's Pembroke refinery), Poland has been the latest addition to the list, with four cargoes heading in its direction in recent months.

(Click to enlarge)

The export boom is not limited to crude. We discussed recently how U.S. product exports of gasoline, diesel and LPG have been booming, while this Bloomberg article includes our observation that U.S. LNG exports to the Middle East are like selling ice to the Eskimos.

Nearly thirty countries have already received U.S. LNG since Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass export terminal started early last year, and export destinations are only likely to grow with the imminent start of exports from Dominion Energy's Cove Point terminal. Related: The Billionaires Betting On Space Travel

(Click to enlarge)

By Matt Smith

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