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Record high for US petroleum product exports

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In 2022, the US set a new record for petroleum product exports, up 7% from 2021, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) ‘Petroleum Supply Monthly’.

US petroleum product exports averaged 5.97 million bpd in 2022 (405 000 bpd more than in 2021) driven by an increase of 18% (193 000 bpd) in distillate fuel oil.

Geopolitical disruptions that occurred in 2022 are likely to continue to affect global trade of crude oil and petroleum products in 2023. In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, the US and many US allies, particularly in Europe, announced various sanctions against Russia’s petroleum industry. As a result, prices and crack spreads for petroleum products rose in 2Q22, encouraging refiners globally to increase production.

In the EU, petroleum from Russia had accounted for a large share of all energy imports, but the EU banned imports of crude oil from Russia starting in December 2022 and imports of petroleum products starting in February 2023.

The high volume of US petroleum product exports in 2022 also reflected longer-term growth trends. US exports of total petroleum products - which do not include crude oil - more than doubled to 5.97 million bpd in 2022 from 2.31 million bpd in 2010. Propane was the largest commodity export product by volume in 2022. In 2010, the US exported 109 000 bpd of propane, compared with almost 1.4 million bpd in 2022. Other non-propane hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs), particularly ethane and normal butane, also accounted for the overall increase in US export volumes.

Propane and other HGLs exports are directed primarily to the Asia Pacific region, accounting for more than half of total US propane exports. Japan received the most US propane exports in 2022 at 384 000 bpd.

US distillate fuel oil exports in 2022 averaged 1.26 million bpd, which remained below pre-pandemic volumes. In 2019, exports averaged 1.31 million bpd. Although US distillate exports to Europe noticeably increased, the US sent most of its distillate fuel oil exports to Latin America.

US exports of motor gasoline also increased in 2022, and unlike distillate exports, exceeded 2019 volumes, coming in at their highest annual average on record. Mexico has historically received the most US gasoline exports, which was still the case last year.

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