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Crude oil exports from the only deep-water port in the United States, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, doubled in January from December to a record high, driven by robust demand from Asian refiners, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, quoting vessel-tracking data it had compiled.
Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the only U.S. port capable of handling and fully loading supertankers with 2 million barrels of oil each, saw a total of eight tankers depart for India, China, and South Korea in January. Those tankers, most of them supertankers, shipped a total of 15 million barrels of oil from the Louisiana oil export terminal last month—double the volume exported from the port in December and a record-high for the terminal, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg.
The U.S. crude oil exports are benefiting from the recovery of oil demand in Asia, as well as from reductions of term supplies to some Asian customers by the biggest OPEC producers, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly announced reductions in crude oil volumes to be supplied to at least nine clients in Asia and Europe for February. The cuts are made for shipments under long-term contracts and concern Aramco’s heavier grades.
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Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia, has also reportedly reduced—quite unexpectedly—its term supplies for 2021 to several major Indian refiners by 10-20 percent.
At the same time, the major oil importers in Asia are estimated to have boosted their imports by 7.5 percent month over month in January to 26.14 million barrels per day (bpd), according to tanker-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv and cited by Reuters.
Chinese oil imports are estimated to have jumped by 33 percent to around 12 million bpd, up from just 9 million bpd in December, Refinitiv data showed.
India is also boosting imports, with official government data showing that crude oil imports increased by 9.5 percent in December 2020, while crude oil throughput rose by 0.9 percent compared to December 2019, just before the start of the pandemic.
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.