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Where The US Exports Oil And Petroleum Products

Where The US Exports Oil And Petroleum Products thumbnail

This year the U.S. has averaged more than 900,000 barrels per day (BPD) of crude oil exports while continuing to import an average of 8.1 million BPD. In the previous article, I discussed the reasons the U.S. exports oil, despite the fact that we are still a significant net importer of crude oil.

In a nutshell, the quality of the oil that is being exported is often a better fit for foreign refineries than the oil that is imported. It may also be logistically preferable to ship domestic oil to certain foreign refineries.

From 1975 until late 2015, a crude oil export ban restricted crude oil exports from the U.S. to all countries besides Canada. In the years leading up to the U.S. shale oil boom, the U.S. was exporting less than 30,000 BPD to Canada.

By 2013, crude oil exports to Canada had jumped to 134,000 BPD. That was also the year that crude oil being exported from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick derailed, caught fire, and killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Despite the tragedy, crude oil exports to Canada continued to grow, reaching 427,000 BPD in 2015.

Canada remains the predominant destination for U.S. crude oil exports, but because of the repeal of the crude oil export ban, the U.S. exported crude oil to nearly 30 countries last year. By 2016, the total had grown to 591,000 BPD of U.S. crude oil exports. Thus far in 2017, monthly exports have averaged over 900,000 BPD, and have exceeded one million barrels per day (BPD) on multiple occasions.

Here were the Top 10 destinations for U.S. crude oil exports in 2016:

Robert Rapier

Destination of U.S. crude oil exports in 2016.

  • Volume – Thousand barrels per day
  • Percentage – Percentage of total U.S. petroleum exports

Canada was the destination for nearly 61% of U.S. crude oil exports last year, but it is important to note that we import far more oil from Canada (~3.2 million BPD in 2016). Thus far in 2017, Canada’s share of U.S. exports has plunged to 34%, while China has jumped from a 3.7% share in 2016 to 20% through July of this year.

Of course, the crude oil export ban didn’t cover finished products like gasoline and diesel. So, even a decade ago, the U.S. was exporting around a million barrels a day of these products to countries around the world.

But then the shale boom provided U.S. refiners with high quality, discounted crudes that they were then able to sell into the export market. As a result, finished product exports jumped from about a million barrels a day prior to the shale boom up to 4.7 million BPD in 2016. Here were the Top 10 destinations of finished product exports last year:

Robert Rapier

Destination of U.S. petroleum product exports in 2016.

Note that Mexico, which doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 for U.S. petroleum exports, is the top destination for U.S. finished product exports.

The overall impact of increasing crude oil and finished product exports is that U.S. net imports — which means the amount of petroleum and finished products we import minus those we export — has fallen from a high of over 13 million BPD in 2005 to under 5 million BPD.


17 Comments on "Where The US Exports Oil And Petroleum Products"

  1. Sissyfuss on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 9:06 am 

    Forbes is lying. Clogtastrophe in the Neverlands would never accept energy sources from a multicultural multiracial melting pot. Say it ain’t so, Cloghimmler.

  2. rockman on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 9:28 am 

    “From 1975 until late 2015, a crude oil export ban restricted crude oil exports from the U.S. to all countries besides Canada. In the years leading up to the U.S. shale oil boom, the U.S. was exporting less than 30,000 BPD to Canada.”

    And once again the need to expose the misrepresentation of the oil “ban”. At least this statement uses a somewhat conflicting description: was it a ban on exports or a “restriction”? They try to give the impression that the “less then 30,000 bood” to Canada was the anomaly. Not even f*cking close: in March 1982, seven years after the supposed “ban” was passed, the US exported 321,000 bopd. In fact in 1976, the year after the “ban” was passed we exported more then 2X as much oil as in 1974, the year before the “ban” became law.

    And how did this happen since oil exports were banned? Because any company could apply for an exception to the “ban”. Difficult to search but so far I have not found a single request for such an exception being denied by the federal govt. IOW no company was allowed to export oil…unless they asked to be allowed to export oil. BTW if a company wanted to export oil to Canada it didn’t even need to request an exception: Canada was exempt from the “ban”.

    From Day 1 the US ban on exporting oil was an intentional misrepresentation by Washington politicians to appease voters after the oil import crisis. Based on the published stats from the same govt that cannot be denied.

    Now let’s jump ahead to the excitement pumped out by the MSM when President Obama rescinded the export “ban” starting in January 2016. The media was happy to extend the illusion for the POTUS. How was it an illusion? In the last year the “ban” was law, 2015, the US exported 170 BILLION BBLS OF OIL.

    And how blatant was this INTENTIONAL misdirection of the American voter? All the stats above come from the same govt that supposedly banned the export of oil from the US:

    Now the even bigger fraud: allowing the unlimited export of refinery products. In 2016 the US exported 591,000 bopd. That same year we averaged 4.7 million bbls per day of refinery product export. Again the stat from the federal govt:

    So what’s the difference between exporting 4.7 million bopd and 4.7 million bbls of product per day? From the perspective of the US consumer not a damn thing. From the perspective of us oil producers? F*cking fantastic!!! LOL. Imagine how low the price of domestically produced oil would be if US consumers didn’t have to compete with foreign buyers for refinery products. In fact think about the global price of exported oil if the US had purchased 4.7 million bopd from exporting countries during 2016.

    Some folks rant about tax breaks, etc the petroleum industry gets from the govt but are just as ignorant of the HUGE BENEFIT we get from the unrestricted export of refinery products. It greatly exceeds that we got from lifting the fictitious oil export “ban”.

  3. rockman on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 12:11 pm 

    “Thus far in 2017, Canada’s share of U.S. exports has plunged to 34%, while China has jumped from a 3.7% share in 2016 to 20% through July of this year.” Not sure where they get their numbers. Maybe just making them up to push some agenda. According to the EIA (the only source of data I know of) in July 2017 Canada imported 11.3 million bbls of oil…or 41% of US oil exports. Same month China imported 3.9 million bbls…or 14% of US oil exports. That month the UK imported almost as much US oil as China: 3.2 million bbls.

    The facts from the EIA:

  4. Anonymous on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 12:44 pm 

    We have achieved energy independence in natural gas. Net import/export at breakeven. .

    Month U.S. Natural Gas Net Imports Billion Cubic Feet
    Jul-17 2
    Jun-17 -14
    May-17 -10
    Apr-17 -9
    Mar-17 9
    Feb-17 -1
    Jan-17 20

    And this is with prices below $3 (and strip averaging over summer/winter projects to under $3 for the long term).

    And we didn’t get independence by consuming less gas. Volume is way up actually. But the Marcellus-Utica is a monster. The Appallachian basin (PA/WV/OH) now produces more natural gas than all of Texas.

    So much for peak gas. If you want a hoot go look at David Hughes ASPO lecture in 2006 on peak gas and how the US would be dropping 1.5 BCF/d/year. And would not be able to build LNG import fast enough.

    And look at us. 80 BCF/day at less than $3/mmbtu. Damn it feels good to be a cornie.

  5. Davy on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 1:19 pm 

    But for how long Nony should we be smug?

  6. Anonymous on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 1:54 pm 

    Don’t ruin my shadenfreude! 😉

  7. Anonymous on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 2:21 pm 

    Here is David Hughes in 2006 talking about “peak gas”.

    In the lecture, he says that US natural gas production will drop 1.5 BCF/d/year (this is 0.55 TCF/year). And he says that we will build LNG like crazy but not enough to meet demand.

    Interestingly enough he did the exact same thing that James Hamilton did with his “hundred here to stay” on oil prices, right before the crash! After 2005 (low point for US natgas production), we started growing like crazy. The direct opposite of what he predicted.

    Here are the TCF/year from 2005 to 2016:

    18.1 18.5 19.3 20.2 20.6 21.3 22.9 24.0 24.2 25.9 27.1 26.7

    Were supposed to drop a little over 0.5 per year. Instead went UP 0.7 TCF per year.

    This is what David Hughes predicted (yearly US production of dray natgas in TCF/year:

    18.1 17.5 17.0 16.4 15.9 15.3 14.8 14.2 13.7 13.1 12.6 12.0

    So the actual results show us double his peaker projection. That is just amazingly wrong. Oh…and this is in the face of low prices. You can’t even make the price argument like with oil.

    It’s amazing that this guy continues to opine and to push a skeptical stance on shale gas and shale oil. When he was so dramatically wrong in the past. Someone who does that is an activist, not an analyst.

  8. rockman on Sat, 7th Oct 2017 9:51 pm 

    “But for how long?” Today it’s all hanging and the Marcellus Shale and maybe the Utica Shale in the near future. The MS came on as a big surprise. It had been producing for many years from vertical wells but the results from horizontal drilling was the key.

    The MS rig count has recovered from the low around 30 and up to about 60 now. Production rates from new wells has held stead for the last year. And even though legacy production is falling off at a good clip overall production is still increasing. Not by a lot but increasing none the less.

    So for how long? Given the gains, why small, are still there probably for a few years. But like every play ever developed it will fall of as the most viable locations are drilled. Given the MS accounts for almost 20% of US production its decline will impact prices. But as prices increase bypassed locations will be drilled. A modest increase of $2/MCF could spur a lot of shale drilling that could again stabilize prices for an extended period.

    In general we may be in fairly good shape as far as NG supplies go for a good number of years. But 10 to 15 years out? Who knows.

  9. Davy on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:20 am 

    Thanks rock. Since we are putting a lot of eggs in the Natural gas basket that is good to know. I can only hope we bring on much more renewables to ease out the declines down the road.

  10. jawagord on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 9:52 am 

    Distillation refining produces gasoline and diesel in essentially fixed percentages resulting in too much diesel in the US where gasoline is the predominate fuel and too much gasoline in Europe where diesel is the predominate fuel so the excesses have been traded, good for consumers on both continents.

    “Petroleum products are traded globally, and the United States has a long history of exporting certain petroleum products and importing others to balance refinery outputs and to satisfy global demand. For example, U.S. refiners have tended to export diesel to Europe (where diesel demand is stronger), while European refiners have tended to export gasoline to the U.S. market (where gasoline demand is stronger). Distillate and residual fuel oils, used to produce diesel fuel or fuel used for space heating and other industrial purposes, have been the major U.S. export products (figure 2). ”

  11. Cloggie on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 11:22 am 

    Hmmm, 43+30=73 to the Great Small Kingdom of the Netherlands. Old friendship never dies, despite the ramblings of commissar Siss. That’s comparable to the rest of the world combined, minus the US Northern Territories.

    The Netherlands is the most important foothold the US empire has in continental Europe. Or from a future perspective, the Netherlands is the most important link, Paris-Berlin-Moscow will have to the European-American Heartland or (T)rump-country.

  12. Anonymous on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:31 pm 


    Nothing in life is certain, but for natgas, things look very good. WAY WAY better than the peak gasers from 2006 predicted. There is more danger of too much than too little.

    1. Average well quality continues to get better over the years, despite drilling out the good spots and despite the shale gas revolution being much older than the shale oil revolution. (And you can’t blame it on high grading like with oil, since production has expanded.)

    2. The strip (which is people BETTING, not just talking but BETTING) for natgas is ~flat at $3 for the next 10 years. This despite inflation and despite planned increases in consumption (LNG export projects well advanced). Undoubtedly there will be individual winters where price spikes high/low based on weather. But the outlook is very good: lower for longer.

    3. The NE Marcellus is selling for about $1.50 LESS than HH. SW Marcellus and Utica for about $1 less. That shows you pipe capacity is the issue, not running out of locations. This is why production growth has slowed (but not stopped). Every time a pipe gets built, it gets filled. At this point, combined output of PA/OH/WV is already over 25 BCF/d.

    3. The Haynesville has been holding steady for the last 3 years. And is starting to pick up (even at $3 price). This was the play that Berman and Hughes trashed and said was finished. The fate of all plays (up, then down). But it is clear that production has been much more tenacious than they expected. See here:

    4. Even if production from M/U and H flag, there are actually huge amounts of gas still in the Fayettevill and the Barnett. The reason drilling stopped there was the price drop, not exhaustion. (See, what we have is gas on gas competition.)

    5. PGC estimates technical resource at over 3100 TCF. While some of that depends on higher price, that is still a huge amount of resource versus current consumption (more than 100 years).

  13. Davy on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:38 pm 

    Nony be quiet you are going to upset all the rabid anti-Americans. They will be howling at the moon and grinding their teeth. These things speak of disturb them.

  14. Anonymous on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:48 pm 

    My bad.

  15. Davy on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:56 pm 

    cloggie, a Paris Berlin Moscow Swiss Cheese:

    “Spain’s Rajoy Ready To Trigger “Nuclear Option” As Hundreds Of Thousands Protest Against Independence In Barcelona”

    “We are going to stop independence from happening. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding,” Rajoy told El Pais. He also called on “moderate” Catalans to “come back” and move away from “extremists, radicals” as well as the Popular Unity Candidacy party (CUP) spearheading the movement. It is the first time he has reached out to the Catalan people since the referendum. Rajoy also slammed the independence bid as part of a current wave of populism sweeping across Europe, pointing to the rise of far-right parties in France, Germany and the UK. “Another form of populism, without doubt, is this nationalist populism that we are experiencing, which violates the fundamental principles of the European Union, goes against the rule of law, against law enforcement, and so it is a problem also from Europe. “And that’s why Europeans have stuck up for us and all the governments have supported the Spanish constitution and the upholding of the law.” Actually, the reason why European have stuck with Spain, is because if Catalonia achieves independence it will unleash a waterfall sequence of copycat referendums, where other independence movements will pursue their own secession dreams. It remains unclear just how the current Spain crisis is resolved: the past week in Catalonia has been nothing short of chaotic. Madrid responded to the vote with force, sending thousands of police to the region to shut down the vote. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has threatened to declare independence early next week, and hundreds of thousands of Catalan protesters marched in favor of splitting from Spain this week.”

  16. Cloggie on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 1:09 pm 

    What has a potential Spanish standoff to do with PBM?

    I repeat what I said before: everybody thinks a very hard Brexit is coming up. Now what do you think the new option is the Spanish now has: deflect attention from inner conflicts to a “war” with Britain, with the quiet backing of Brussels, namely taking “conditionally” Gibraltar back. Gibraltar will be given back provided Britain pays these 80 billion, plus the EU navy gets the right to establish a naval basis on the British coast as a “sign of mutual good will and eternal European and British friendship”.

  17. Cloggie on Sun, 8th Oct 2017 1:12 pm 

    Hundred thousands protested IN BARCELONA AGAINST breakup.

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