According to the EIA, crude oil has surpassed hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) to become the largest US petroleum export, with 1.8 million bpd of exports in the first half of 2018. US crude oil exports increased by 787 000 bpd, or almost 80%, from the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2018 and set a new monthly record of 2.2 million bpd in June. Much of this crude oil went to destinations in Asia and Oceania such as China, South Korea, and India. Europe was the second-largest market for US crude oil exports, led by Italy, the UK, and the Netherlands. Canada was the only major US crude oil export destination where exports decreased, down slightly in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.
The US exported 7.3 million bpd of crude oil and petroleum products in the first half of 2018, the largest amount of crude oil and petroleum product exports ever for the first six months of a year. During this period, exports of crude oil and HGL set record monthly highs. US exports of crude oil, HGLs, and motor gasoline grew in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, while distillate exports decreased.
HGLs, including propane, ethane, butanes, and natural gasoline, were the second-largest petroleum export from the US in the first half of 2018 at 1.6 million bpd. As with crude oil, destinations in Asia and Oceania such as Japan, South Korea, China, and India were also the primary recipients of US HGLs. These countries have expanded petrochemical facilities that import US HGLs as a feedstock. Overall US HGL exports set a new monthly record at 1.7 million bpd in May.
In the first half of 2018, the US exported 1.3 million bpd of distillate, primarily to destinations in Central and South America. The decline in US distillate exports in the first half of 2018 compared with the first half of 2017 was mostly the result of lower exports to a number of destinations in Central and South America and in Europe. However, US distillate exports are typically higher in the second half of the year. Compared with other petroleum exports, US distillate exports go to the most destinations: 49 different destinations received at least 1,000 bpd of US distillate in the first half of 2018.
The US exported 913,000 bpd of motor gasoline in the first half of 2018, an increase of 144 000 bpd compared with the same period in 2017. More than half of US motor gasoline exports went to Mexico in the first half of 2018, the largest to a single destination of any US petroleum export. Mexico has relatively low refinery utilisation rates and in recent years has increased imports of motor gasoline and other petroleum products from the US. The 504 000 bpd of gasoline exported from the US to Mexico in the first half of 2018 was equivalent to more than 60% of the gasoline consumed in Mexico in those months.
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