The U.S.' exports of total petroleum products set a record high for the 16th consecutive year in 2018, reaching an annual average of 5.6 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 366,000 b/d from 2017 levels, the country’s Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.
According to the agency, record-high levels of U.S. crude oil production and refinery runs helped refiners export large volumes of petroleum products, even with high levels of domestic demand.
The three largest petroleum product exports from the U.S. in 2018 were distillate, propane, and motor gasoline.
"Despite an 80,000 b/d decrease in exports in 2018 from 2017, distillate remained the most exported petroleum product in 2018, averaging 1.3 million b/d, or approximately 25% of U.S. refinery net production," the EIA said, adding distillate exports were still more than 100,000 b/d higher than the previous five-year average (2013–2017).
The U.S. exported distillate to 64 destinations in 2018, with the largest volumes destined for Mexico. Mexico received an average of 298,000 b/d, or 23% of U.S. distillate exports last year, increasing by 42,000 b/d from 2017.
Brazil received the second-largest share of distillate exported from the U.S., averaging 151,000 b/d equivalent to 12% of U.S. distillate exports, down by 57,000 b/d from 2017. Chile, Peru, and the Netherlands made up the remainder of the top five recipients of U.S. distillate exports.
Propane was the second most exported U.S. petroleum product, with an export volume reaching a record high of 972,000 b/d in 2018, surpassing the previous record of 914,000 b/d set in 2017.
According to the agency, three of the top five destinations are in Asia, which use propane as a feedstock for producing ethylene and propylene - the building blocks for chemical and plastic manufacturing.
Japan received the largest share of U.S. propane exports, corresponding to more than 258,000 b/d, or 7% of total U.S. propane exports, an increase of 48,000 b/d from 2017 volumes. Mexico came second with an average of 131,000 b/d, a fall of 7,000 b/d from 2017 levels.
Exports to Korea and the Netherlands increased by 25,000 b/d and 21,000 b/d, respectively. Exports to China, on the other hand, fell by 62,000 b/d, a 49% year-over-year decline.
According to the agency, exports of motor gasoline, including blending components, reached 44 destinations in 2018 and set a record high of 951,000 b/d, up 126,000 b/d from 2017 levels.
Mexico again topped the list, receiving 529,000 b/d of U.S.' gasoline exports, or 56% of total U.S. gasoline, which was 60,000 b/d more than in 2017. Exports to Canada increased by 25,000 b/d, to average 62,000 b/d, or 6% of U.S.' gasoline exports in 2018.
By Hale Turkes