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U.S. crude oil exports have jumped in recent weeks as America leads supply growth amid steady and resilient global demand, according to commodity analytics provider Kpler, cited by Reuters.
In December, America’s crude oil exports averaged 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd), Matt Smith, a lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, told Reuters. That, according to Kpler, was the highest crude export volume in a month since February 2020, just before the pandemic crippled global oil demand.
So far in January, U.S. crude oil exports have increased and are close to averaging 3 million bpd, Smith told Reuters.
“Everyone is seeing really strong demand growth numbers for this year, and when you look at where supply growth is coming through from, the U.S. is a leader there,” he said.
A number of supply issues in recent weeks, including in Libya, Kazakhstan, and Ecuador, have disrupted some seaborne crude flows. The Libyan force majeure in late December and early January shifted more U.S. exports to Europe, according to Reuters.
In addition, global oil demand has been holding up during the Omicron wave despite a record-high number of COVID cases in many major oil-consuming countries. Some governments have re-imposed some restrictions, but nothing like lockdowns from early 2020, or the summer of 2021 when the Delta variant was dominant.
Global oil demand defied gloomy expectations from a month ago to withstand the Omicron wave with much less disruption than expected, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said earlier this week, raising its demand growth estimates by 200,000 bpd for both 2021 and 2022.
Demand increased by 1.1 million bpd to 99 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2021, defying expectations of a serious hit to consumption due to the Omicron wave, the IEA said in its Oil Market Report (OMR) for January on Wednesday. As a result, the IEA raised its global demand estimates, and now expects demand growth of 5.5 million bpd last year and 3.3 million bpd this year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
The United States produced on average 11.18 million barrels a day (mbd) in 2021 and consumed 19.70 mbd of crude oil and other liquid fuels according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). This means that the US needed to import 8.52 mbd to satisfy its needs.
So for the United States to be able to export 3.2 mbd of crude oil in December 2021 means it must have imported 11.72 mbd since the exported 3.2 mbd of ultra light crude were exchanged for heavier crude imports more suitable for American refineries and therefore aren’t real net exports.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London