By Julianne Geiger of Oilprice.com
U.S. crude oil exports hit record highs in the first half of the year, averaging 3.99 million bpd - up nearly 20% from the first half of 2022, the EIA said on Tuesday.
The largest share of U.S. crude oil that is exported made its way to Europe, at 1.75 million barrels per day - mostly to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Asia was the second-largest destination 1.68 million bpd, with the largest portion heading to China and South Korea.
Despite its record, the United States remained a net crude oil importer in the first half of the year, according to EIA data, even with increasing domestic production, importing 8.836 million bpd in June—nearly half of which came from Canada. Refineries in the United States are geared to process heavy, sour crude oil, while most of the oil produced in the United States is light, sweet crude.
“Some U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast have invested in expanding their light, sweet crude oil processing capacity. However, for many refiners, particularly in the Midwest and along the Gulf Coast, refining discounted heavy, sour crude oil grades remains more profitable,” the EIA said on Tuesday.
While most of the United States’ oil exports are heading to the Netherlands, United Kingdom, China, and South Korea; most of its imports—of heavy oil--are coming from Mexico and Canada.
July EIA data shows a decline from June in the amount of crude oil imported by the United States, including from Canada. Exports, however, held steady at 10.029 million bpd.
According to the weekly EIA data, U.S. crude oil production is now at 12.9 million barrels per day, compared to 12 million bpd this same time last year. It is on par, however, with production levels at the end of 2019 and under the all-time weekly high of 13.1 million bpd that the U.S. saw in March 2020.