U.S. crude oil exports averaged 520,000 bbls/d to 26 countries in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Since the removal of a 40-year U.S. export ban on crude oil in December 2015, U.S. diversification of export markets has been impressive, but these numbers still pale in comparison to U.S. net imports, which averaged just under 5 million bbls/d in 2015 and 2016.
Even though oil exports have increased, growth in outbound shipments has slowed significantly from its pace from 2013 to 2015, when annual U.S. crude oil production grew rapidly, the EIA said in a March 28 export update.
With the oil and gas industry still reeling from the worst slump in a generation, there is hardly any talk of “U.S. energy independence” anymore. However, in 2012, U.S. net crude imports peaked at 12.5 million bbls/d, so the U.S. has made an amazing turnaround thanks to its shale production surge. Current U.S. net imports are now as low as they were in 1986.
As for the U.S. crude exports, in 2015, 92 per cent of U.S. crude went to Canada, which was exempt from the restrictions. The same year marked a peak volume in U.S. exports to Canada of 422,000 bbl/d, according to EIA.
In 2016, Canada remained the top destination for U.S. crude. But with new export markets now open to the U.S., Canada received only 58 per cent of the total U.S. exported volume.
Aside from Canada, European destinations such as the Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom and France ranked high on the list of U.S. crude oil export destinations in 2016. The Netherlands topped the list receiving an average of 38,000 bbls/d.
The second-largest regional destination was Asia, including China, Korea, Singapore, and Japan.
The U.S. also exported to eight different Central and South American destinations, including Curacao, Colombia, and Peru.