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EIA: Distillate fuel most exported petroleum product

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that distillate fuel continued to be the most exported US petroleum product in 2017, averaging 1.4 million bpd of gross exports.

US distillate exports went to 79 different destinations in 2017, particularly to markets in Central America, South America, and Europe. The proximity of US Gulf Coast refineries to Mexico and to Central and South America combined with high demand in these regions led to higher US distillate exports to these locations.

Last year, the US exported 27% of total domestic distillate production, continuing years of increasing exports and relatively flat US consumption growth. Because domestic distillate demand is highest in the winter months, US distillate exports tend to be highest in the summer months. In February 2017, however, warmer-than-normal US temperatures coupled with colder-than-normal European temperatures led to above average winter exports of distillate, especially to markets in Europe.

Distillate exports from the US set consecutive record highs in May, June, and July 2017, reaching 1.7 million bpd in July. In August, exports of distillate fell to 1.4 million bpd, partly because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which temporarily disrupted shipments of distillate and other fuels from the US Gulf Coast.

The US Gulf Coast (Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3) is the largest petroleum refining region in the country, accounting for approximately half of the total US refining capacity in 2017. Distillate production on the US Gulf Coast exceeds regional demand, making the region a net supplier to other US regions and foreign markets. In 2015, refineries in the region produced 2.8 million bpd of distillate, while regional demand was about 800 000 bpd. The Gulf Coast accounted for 87% of US distillate exports in 2017.

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