US crude exports tumbled in July

  • : Condensate, Crude oil
  • 21/09/02

US crude exports fell by about 23pc in July, led by reduced shipments to India and China.

Total domestic crude exports averaged 2.7mn b/d in July down from 3.49mn b/d in June, according to trade data released today by the US Census Bureau.

India, which has been the top recipient of US crude this year, took about 374,000 b/d in July, down by 147,000 b/d from June. India was still the second highest recipient of US crude in July, surpassed by South Korea with 486,000 b/d.

State-controlled Indian refiners in December expanded their import portfolio to include more US grades. Refiner IOC is now including West Texas Light (WTL) as an eligible grade in its weekly import tenders and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) issued a unique tender that sought Mars for its Vizag refinery earlier this year.

US crude headed to China fell to about 169,000 b/d in July, down by 75,000 b/d from June, as exports to that country continued to lag behind year-earlier levels.

China's intake of US crude was volatile last year, but exports to that country rose sharply in May-December 2020, averaging 690,000 b/d during that time, buoyed by an interim trade agreement signed last year with the administration of former president Donald Trump. The deal required China to buy $27bn of US crude and other energy commodities in 2020 and $42bn in 2021. Chinese purchases of US crude last year more than tripled from 2019, but they remained well below the dollar targets set in the phase one deal.

Under the administration of President Joe Biden, a major change in energy policy priorities has diminished the value in Washington of the US-China phase one deal. The deal remains, but much US-China trade remains subject to punitive tariffs.

Overall US crude exports fell in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, but held near 3mn b/d.

US oil exports in 2020 rose to a yearly record of 3.2mn b/d, even as Covid-19 caused global demand to plummet and as a string of tropical storms and hurricanes disrupted shipping and domestic production.

The Census Bureau's monthly trade data comprises several categories of oil, including crude under 25°API, crude that is 25°API or higher, and condensate derived wholly from natural gas. The Census data has differed slightly from monthly Energy Information Administration (EIA) data this year because the EIA includes crude exports to the US Virgin Islands.

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