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U.S. reaches a record in oil exports

Hey, let's dive into something super interesting happening in the U.S. oil scene. In the first half of 2023, the U.S. was like an oil-exporting superstar! They pumped out an average of 3.99 million barrels per day. Yep, you heard that right! That's a record.

So, where's all this oil going?, according to EIA,  Europe is grabbing the largest share, with the Netherlands and the UK being top customers. But that's not all – Asia's right up there too, with China and South Korea getting in on the action. And guess what? The U.S. are also sending oil to places like Canada, Africa, Central America, and South America, but in smaller amounts.

Now, here's a twist: Despite this export frenzy, the U.S. still imports more oil than it exports. Yep, it's still a net importer. Why? Stick around for the next part to find out!

U.S. reaches a record in oil exports
U.S. reaches a record in oil exports

Refineries and their love for heavy crude

Okay, so why is the U.S., with all its oil, still importing the stuff? It's all about the type of oil and the refineries. US refineries, especially the heavy hitters, are set up to process heavy, sour crude oil – the kind with low API gravity and high sulfur content. This is different from the light, sweet crude (high API gravity, low sulfur) mostly produced in the U.S.

Heavy and sour crude oil is often cheaper than light and sweet crude because it's tougher to refine. It needs more complex refinery units to churn out the good stuff like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. US import buddies like Mexico and Canada send over this heavy, sour crude.

In the early 2010s, the U.S. started producing more light, sweet crude, which is easier to refine and usually more expensive. Some refineries, especially those on the Gulf Coast, have upgraded to handle more of this light, sweet stuff. But many others, particularly in the Midwest and along the Gulf Coast, find it more profitable to stick with the heavy, sour crude.

So, there you have it – the U.S. oil scene is a mix of exporting record amounts of their own light, sweet crude while still importing and refining the heavy, sour kind. It's like a giant global oil jigsaw puzzle, with each piece fitting just right!

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