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Surging shale production and growing global demand for light low-sulfur oil helped U.S. crude exports to soar by 45 percent year on year in 2019, reaching an average of 2.98 million barrels per day (bpd), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.
The United States exported crude oil to 44 different destinations last year, compared to 41 export destinations in 2018. Canada was the biggest buyer of American crude with a 15 percent share, closely followed by South Korea with 14 percent of all U.S. crude exports.
Due to the U.S.-China trade war, American exports of crude oil to China slipped by 100,000 bpd on average in 2019 from 2018 and averaged just 133,000 bpd last year. This sent China down the list of the biggest buyers of U.S. crude—from third in 2018 to seventh in 2019, as per EIA estimates.
America’s crude oil exports to China dropped in 2019, but exports of crude to other destinations jumped, most notably to South Korea, the Netherlands, and India, the EIA said.
The top ten buyers of U.S. crude oil in 2019 were Canada, South Korea, the Netherlands, India, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, China, Italy, Thailand, and Singapore.
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Growing U.S. crude oil production and exports have resulted in America selling oil to more destinations around the world than the number of countries from which it imports crude oil, the EIA said in October 2019. A decade ago, the United States was importing crude oil from as many as 37 foreign sources per month, and its exports were restricted almost exclusively to Canada. After the lifting of those restrictions at the end of 2015, U.S. crude oil exports have been on the rise and reaching more destinations.
The United States was a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products last month, with the four-week average net imports at a negative 907,000 bpd in the last week of February, the lowest ‘imports’ level in EIA data dating back to 1973.
Despite the ‘net petroleum exporter’ status, the U.S. continues to be a net importer of crude oil—it continues to import more volumes of crude oil than it exports. In November 2019, the latest monthly data, America imported 5.8 million bpd of crude oil and exported 3.0 million bpd of crude, the EIA said last month.
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.