US crude exports rose by about 28pc in June led by a sharp increase in shipments to India and South Korea.
Total domestic crude exports averaged 3.49mn b/d in June, up from 2.71mn b/d in May, according to trade data released today by the US Census Bureau. US crude exports in June were up from 2.75mn b/d a year earlier.
India was the top destination for US crude loaded in June 2021, taking about 521,000 b/d, up by 160,000 b/d from the previous month as demand in that country continued to recover from a devastating Covid-19 outbreak.
State-controlled Indian refiners in December expanded their import portfolio to include more US grades. Refiner IOC is now including West Texas Light (WTL) as an eligible grade in its weekly import tenders and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) issued a unique tender that sought Mars for its Vizag refinery earlier this year.
US crude headed to South Korea averaged about 462,000 b/d in June, nearly doubling from the previous month.
Meanwhile, US crude headed to China continued to lag year-earlier levels, averaging 244,000 b/d in June, down from 350,000 b/d in May.
China's intake of US crude was volatile last year, but exports to that country rose sharply in May-December 2020, averaging 690,000 b/d during that time, buoyed by an interim trade agreement signed last year with the administration of former president Donald Trump. The deal required China to buy $27bn of US crude and other energy commodities in 2020 and $42bn in 2021. Chinese purchases of US crude last year more than tripled from 2019, but they remained well below the dollar targets set in the phase one deal.
Under the new administration of President Joe Biden, a major change in energy policy priorities has diminished the value in Washington of the US-China phase one deal. The deal remains, but much US-China trade remains subject to punitive tariffs.
Overall US oil exports in 2020 rose to a yearly record of 3.2mn b/d, even as Covid-19 prompted global demand to plummet and as a string of tropical storms and hurricanes disrupted shipping and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The monthly trade data comprises several categories of oil, including crude under 25°API, crude that is 25°API or higher, and condensate derived wholly from natural gas.
The Census trade data has differed slightly from monthly Energy Information Administration (EIA) trade data this year because the EIA includes crude exports to the US Virgin Islands.