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2023 Sets a record in U.S. Crude Oil exports

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

With a growth of 650,000 barrels of oil per day more than in 2022, the first semester of 2023 has set a record for U.S. oil exports. U.S. crude oil exports totaled 3.99 million barrels per day (b/d), marking a record for the country that hasn’t been seen since 2015, according to EIA.


Where is the exported crude oil going?


Firstly, Europe is the primary recipient, receiving 1.75 million b/d, mainly directed to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.


Secondly, Asia receives 1.68 million b/d, with exports led by China and South Korea.


At lower levels, exports also go to Canada, Africa, Central America, and South America.


2023 Sets a Record in U.S. Crude Oil Exports
2023 Sets a Record in U.S. Crude Oil Exports


Why does the U.S. continue to import crude oil?


Although crude production has increased in the U.S., the country continues to import more crude than it exports. This is because refineries are configured to process heavy and sour crude oil, and U.S. production is light and sweet. This situation has prompted the U.S. to seek oil from other countries like Mexico and Canada for imports.


In the early 2010s, the United States experienced a significant increase in the production of light and sweet crude oil, a type of oil that has traditionally enjoyed premium prices on the global market because its less complex refinement results in profitable petroleum products. Although some refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast have expanded their capacity to process this type of crude, many refineries, especially in the Midwest and on the Gulf Coast itself, find that refining heavy and sour crude oil, which is generally more economical, continues to be more profitable.


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