The US exported slightly more petroleum products in the first half of 2020 than in 2019, according to the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday.
The US exported 5.4 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum products in the first half of 2020, a slight increase of 48,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1%, from the first half of 2019, the EIA said.
Distillate fuel oil usually accounts for the largest share of US petroleum product exports, however, the EIA explained that in the first half of 2020, the country exported slightly more propane totaling 1.22 million b/d compared to distillate fuel oil that amounted to 1.21 million b/d.
The country increased its propane exports by 175,000 b/d, or 17%, from the same period in 2019 while distillate exports decreased by 6% to 72,000 b/d.
Propane is used in space heating, transportation and petrochemical feedstocks. Most US propane exports are used as petrochemical feedstocks, mainly by facilities in Asia.
In March 2020, the Chinese government -- the fourth-largest destination for US propane exports in the first half of 2020 behind Japan, Mexico, and South Korea -- began issuing tariff waivers on US liquefied petroleum gases, including propane.
Distillate fuel oil, which is most often consumed as diesel, has several uses in personal and commercial transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, and home heating.
The EIA said all four of the top destinations for US distillate exports are in the Americas including Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Panama.
During the first half of 2020, US distillate exports to Mexico fell by an average of about 40,000 b/d equivalent to 14%, and exports to Brazil fell by 17% to 33,000 b/d compared with the first half of 2019, it added.
Motor gasoline exports in the first half of 2020 averaged 735,000 b/d, a 17% decrease to 148,000 b/d compared with the same period of 2019, the US energy agency said, elaborating that the largest decrease was in May, when motor gasoline exports fell to 340,000 b/d, their lowest value since late 2010.
Although jet fuel accounts for a relatively small share of overall US petroleum product exports, the agency said travel restrictions and other responses to the spread of coronavirus significantly affected global jet fuel demand.
In the first half of 2020, the US exported 134,000 b/d of kerosene-type jet fuel, marking a 35% fall to 71,000 b/d from the same period of 2019, the EIA said.
US jet fuel exports hit a low point in May, falling to just 23,000 b/d, their lowest value since mid-2007, it added.
By Sibel Morrow