Exports of crude oil from the US Gulf Coast could hit a record 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this quarter, analysts said on June 27, as Europe chases US crude to offset sanctioned Russian oil.
US exports have risen since April, helped by Washington’s decision to release 180 million barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which have flooded the domestic market.
Exports to Europe are expected to average about 1.4 million (bpd) this quarter, about 30 percent higher than the year-ago quarter, while export to Asia is set to drop to under 1 million bpd, according to energy data firm Kpler.
The higher purchases by European buyers have more than offset the decline in flows to Asian countries, which have been buying heavily discounted Russian crude.
Viktor Katona, co-head of crude analysis at Kpler, said: “The 1.53 million bpd of US crude exports to Europe recorded in April is the second-highest reading on record.” He said that the figure illustrates “a very strong pull in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Tight US refining capacity also boosted exports, Rystad Energy analysts noted. The United States has lost nearly one million bpd of refining capacity since 2020.
Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad Energy, said: “It’s no surprise that government intervention to support crude supplies has resulted in an increase in exports.”
Throughput via the Port of Corpus Christi has increased by more than 150,000 bpd to reach 1.86 million bpd. Port of Houston exports have also been rising since the third quarter of 2021, but remain below pre-pandemic levels, Rystad added.
Clay Seigle, energy strategist, citing Vortexa data, said: “The call on US crude could go even higher, if additional restrictions like secondary sanctions are implemented” against Russia.
Crude exports will continue to grow and approach four million bpd in the first three months of 2023, Rystad estimates.
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