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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Oil Poised To Become U.S.’ Single Largest Export Product

  • Since 2015, when the U.S. lifted a ban on crude oil exports – which had previously gone only to Canada – American oil exports have soared.
  • In the first half of 2023, Europe was the top destination for U.S. crude oil exports by volume, at 1.75 million bpd.
  • Crude oil is set to become the largest export item for the United States this year for the first time in history.

Oil is on track to be the largest export item for the United States this year for the first time in history, highlighting the growing influence of U.S. oil production and exports on the global oil market.  

Rising U.S. crude oil production in recent years and growing exports after the ban was lifted in 2015 have made U.S. oil an increasingly important commodity on the market, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ban and sanctions on Russian crude in the West. 

U.S. oil supply offset some of the OPEC+ cuts in the first half of this year as it is set for record-high production in 2023 and 2024. America's crude oil production is expected to average 12.92 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and 13.12 million bpd next year—new record highs, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) says in its October Short-Term Energy Outlook. 

Oil exports are also at a record high, averaging 3.99 million bpd in the first half of 2023—up by nearly 20% from the first half of 2022.  

In terms of both volumes and value, U.S. oil exports were the biggest export of all categories in America's trade with the world through August this year and are likely to be such for the full year 2023—for the first time ever, according to an analysis by Ken Roberts at WorldCity, a company that tracks U.S. exports based on U.S. Census Bureau data.  Related: Airlines: Plan To Phase Out EU Fossil Fuel Subsidies Would Backfire

In August alone, the value of U.S. oil exports, at $10.3 billion, had the highest share of all American exports with 6%, followed by gasoline and other fuels, per WorldCity data. In terms of tonnage, oil's share was also the highest—at 24%, followed by LNG and gasoline and other fuels. 

According to the analysis by WorldCity's Roberts published in Forbes, "the primary oil category will be the United States' top export when 2023 figures are released early next year."  

Since 2015, when the U.S. lifted a ban on crude oil exports – which had previously gone only to Canada – American oil exports have soared alongside the jump in production. The jump has been more pronounced in the past two years, thanks to a growing global appetite for competitively-priced barrels amid lower supply from OPEC+ and the embargo on Russian crude. 

Despite the fact that U.S. crude is mostly of the lighter and sweeter variety, unlike the top grades from Russia and the Middle East, America's exports have been offsetting part of the OPEC+ cuts in recent months. 

In the first half of 2023, Europe was the top destination for U.S. crude oil exports by volume, at 1.75 million bpd, led by exports to the Netherlands and the UK, the EIA says. Asia came second, taking in 1.68 million bpd, led by U.S. oil exports to China and South Korea. The United States also exported significantly smaller volumes of crude oil to Canada, Africa, and Central America and South America.  

In less than a decade since the export ban was lifted, U.S. oil has become so significant for the global market that WTI Midland was added in June to the Brent basket of crude oil grades that is used as a benchmark for pricing the world's most traded oil contract. 

The reason WTI Midland is becoming more and more important in the Dated Brent assessment is, again, the volume of U.S. crude being shipped abroad, which has averaged around 4 million bpd since the start of the year. 


With U.S. oil in demand in Europe and Asia when arbitrage allows, America's oil exports have jumped in the past two years and are set to be the biggest U.S. export item in 2023.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Lee James on October 17 2023 said:
    I am all for the U.S. offsetting world demand for Russian petroleum. At the same that we develop U.S. domestic supply, we also need to grow clean energy.

    Growing domestic oil supply and renewable energy - both - is a tall order. We may need to pay more to do it, so it could hurt a bit to do what we need to do.
  • john tucker on October 17 2023 said:
    You need to explain this for some people less familiar with how the oil markets work.
    These exports are a matter of convenience, this is not occurring from a net surplus of crude oil at all. First of all, there has not been a new refinery built inside the USA for 50 years. The existing refineries are primarily designed to process heavier oils such as come out of conventional wells around the E. Texas/Mississippi/Louisiana/shallow GOM area. However today, just about half of all the oil that is being produced in the USA today is coming out of tight shale regions such as the Permian, the Bakken, and others. This crude oil renders more gasoline, less motor diesel, less oils and other heavier components. So the natural market result is for much of this oil to be shipped to other refineries overseas and then the gasoline and diesel and other products to be shipped back to the USA.

    Note that the USA is STILL not a net oil exporting nation. The statement is being bandied about by politicians and irresponsible news media that the USA is a net exporter of "petroleum products" but what makes that statement technically accurate is the large volume of natural gas that the USA is exporting these days. The USA is still using more crude oil than it is producing.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 17 2023 said:
    You are wrong on both counts: US crude oil exports and US production.
    What you claim as US average exports of 3.99 million barrels a day (mbd) aren’t exports at all. They are merely an exchange between a quantity of extra light crude that the US sells and an equivalent quantity of heavy and sour crude that the US buys for the majority of its refineries which are tooled to only process heavy and sour crude.

    As for US crude production averaging 12.92 mbd in 2023, this is overhyped by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) which has been repeatedly accused of hyping about US oil production particularly shale oil for so long that even veterans of the US shale oil revolution have asked it provide more realistic figures.

    According to the EIA, US production in the first half of 2023 was 12.69 mbd, its consumption 20.5 mbd and its crude imports in June 8.836 mbd. If we use the June imports’ figure as a representative of the first half of the year, we find that US production was 11.66 mbd and not 12.69 mbd or 1.03 mbd less than claimed by the EIA.

    The US will remain a net oil importer well into the future. Moreover, it has hardly any influence over the global oil market. For instance, it wasn’t able to persuade OPEC+ to lift its production despite repeated calls for it to do so by President Biden.

    So what it tries to do is to manipulate the market by two ways. One is using oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to depress oil prices but this tool could never be used again since the SPR is virtually depleted and its intervention had hardly been successful. Second, it does announce a build in US oil inventory every time oil prices start to surge but the market has seen through this ploy.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert
  • George Doolittle on October 17 2023 said:
    Just another cue to bust through the budget caps and spend worse than drunken sailors for the Federal Government of the United States.

    Long Consol Energy, Arch Coal etc etc strong buy
  • DARRYL SMITH on October 23 2023 said:
    Not sure where America is going to get an oil to export. The Strategic Petroleum Reserves in Cushing are bone dry and the White House killed off the Keystone Pipeline on the first day in office.

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