The United States nearly doubled its oil exports in 2018, the Energy Information Administration reporting on Monday, from 1.2 million barrels per day in 2017.
The 2.0 million barrels of oil per day exported in 2018 was in line with increased oil production, which averaged 10.9 million barrels per day last year, and was made possible by changes to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) which allowed it to load VLCCs.
The changes to LOOP and to the sheer volume of exports were not the only changes for the US crude oil industry. The destination of this oil shifted in 2018 as well, and even shifted within the year as the trade row between China and the United States took hold.
Overall, Canada remained the largest buyer of US oil in 2018, at 19% of all oil exports, according to EIA data. During the first half of 2018, the largest buyer of US crude oil was China, averaging 376,000 barrels per day. Due to the trade row, however, US oil exports to China fell to an average of just 83,000 barrels per day in the second half, after seeing zero exports to China in the months of August, September, and October.
Overall in 2018, after Canada, the second highest purchaser of US oil was South Korea, followed by third-place China.
In March, the IEA said that these rising US exports adds another layer of global supply security to the mix, predicting that US oil exports will reach 4 million barrels per day net export by 2024. This security in the market on the back of not only US oil production but also US oil exports could seek to limit higher oil prices should Russia and OPEC members zealously adhere to their production cut quotas that are set to be reviewed in June.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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