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The United States exported the most crude oil and refined oil products last week, bleeding commercial inventories to low levels, according to new data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
United States commercial crude oil inventories sank more than 12 million barrels last week, according to EIA data—after crude oil exports, including refined products, soared to the most ever to nearly 11.8 million bpd. This compares to crude oil and product exports at the beginning of the year at 6.6 million bpd, and 7.5 million bpd in the same week last year.
Source: Bloomberg, via Zerohedge.com
More than half of all U.S. oil and oil product exports make their way to Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
But there are signs that these high U.S. export volumes may soon start to ease, as the cost of shipping U.S. crude oil on Aframax tankers—at least to Europe—soared to the highest ever at $10.18 per barrel on November 18, propped up by the high volumes.
According to an Argus report earlier this week, U.S. traders have looking to load crude oil onto VLCCs instead of Aframaxes to save on freight costs, but large tanker loadings in the United States have suffered setbacks from bad weather.
U.S. crude exports to Europe have climbed to record highs from January to September –to 1.47 million bpd as it battles its dependency on Russian crude ahead of the export ban. U.S. crude exports to the UK have climbed by 28% from the same period last year, while exports to the Netherlands have climbed 46%, according to Argus.
Kpler data showed that U.S. crude exports to Asia are set to hit new highs of 1.8 million bpd in November as the discount to global oil widens to $9 per barrel. This comes after Asian refiners spent the last few months snapping up cheap Russian crude. The discount to Brent was just $6 at the start of September.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.