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U.S. crude oil exports jumped to 3.236 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, up from 2.615 million bpd in March, and the highest crude export figure so far this year, according to trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau published on Tuesday.
In January 2021, U.S. crude oil exports also exceeded 3 million bpd, at 3.075 million bpd. Yet, the value of the exports in April was considerably higher than the value of those in January, as the average price per barrel jumped from $49.11 in the first month of the year to $58.87 in April, the data showed.
Exports were around 2.6 million bpd in each of February and March, also because of the winter storms in mid-February, which resulted in a 40-percent slump in U.S. crude oil production, most notably in the top oil-producing state, Texas.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports first the trade data, on which the Energy Information Administration (EIA) bases its monthly export figures and reports them around the end of the month.
EIA data for Q1 shows slightly higher U.S. crude oil exports than Census Bureau data, estimating January shipments at 3.165 million bpd, and February and March exports at around 2.7 million bpd.
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In January this year, crude oil exports from the only deep-water port in the United States, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, doubled from December to a record high, driven by robust demand from Asian refiners.
Last year, U.S. exports of crude oil stood at 3.18 million bpd, according to EIA data. The re-opening of major economies and the expected increase in global crude oil demand could boost American exports this year.
U.S. oil producers are selling crude to a lot of countries, mainly in Asia. Asia is a natural market for the light, sweet grades that dominate U.S. output. Led by China, Asia was the first region to start recovering from the pandemic, which helped exports. Europe was the other large oil client of the United States last year, with the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands taking in a combined 719,000 bpd of U.S. crude as production of local light grades declined.
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.