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22 Dec, 2022 07:56

US may become net exporter of crude oil – Reuters

The nation’s exports could exceed its imports next year for the first time since World War II, according to the outlet
US may become net exporter of crude oil – Reuters

Sales of US crude oil to other nations have reached a record 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd), with the country expected to become a net exporter of crude oil in 2023, Reuters reported on Monday.

Exports of refined products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel, stood at about 3 million bpd, according to the report, citing official data. The US is also the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a segment that is expected to see growth soar in the coming years, Reuters said.

The US consumes 20 million barrels of crude a day, the most in the world, whereas its output has never exceeded 13 million bpd. American energy exports have not surpassed imports since World War II, but that could reportedly change next year. “Until recently, the idea that it [US] would be anything but a big crude importer was folly,” Reuters wrote.

Last month, however, net US crude oil imports dropped to 1.1 million bpd, the lowest since such records began being kept in 2001. The report attributed the decline to the Western sanctions on Russian energy exports and Washington’s massive release of oil from strategic reserves to combat spiking gasoline prices.

Data from analytics firm Kpler shows that European refiners have snapped up US grades to offset the loss of Russian oil. Asian refiners have also boosted purchases to 1.75 million barrels per day due to the deeper discounts on US crude to global benchmarks.

However, the report points out that to become a net exporter of crude, the US needs either to boost production or curtail consumption. The nation’s petroleum demand is expected to rise to 20.51 million bpd next year, meaning that production would have to rise as well.

It also notes that the outlook for US shale production is grim as fields are aging and output has been anemic. Overall output could reach a record 12.34 million bpd next year, but only if prices are lucrative enough to encourage drillers to pump more.

The US became the world's largest exporter of LNG during the first half of 2022, surpassing Qatar and Australia. LNG exports likely will continue to rise into 2023 as Europe scrambles to refill storages that will be depleted this winter, according to Kpler.

Analysts, however, noted that Washington’s net exports could dwindle as a result of the looming global recession, which could hamper demand, and if a further relaxation of sanctions on Venezuelan crude oil boosts that country’s shipments.

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