U.S. Petro Exports Continue to Grow
Total U.S. petroleum product exports continued to increase in 2015, up 467,000 barrels per day (b/d) from 2014 to 4.3 million b/d, driven by increased exports of distillate fuel, motor gasoline, and propane, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Mexico and the region encompassing both Central and South America continued to be major recipients of U.S. petroleum product exports, as exports to the latter region increased in 2015 because of supply constraints that are likely to ease.
Exports of distillate fuel oil represent the largest component of U.S. petroleum product exports, and averaged 1.19 million b/d in 2015, an increase of 85,000 b/d from 2014. The United States exported distillate fuel to 88 different countries in 2015. The top destination for U.S. distillate exports was Mexico, averaging 143,000 b/d in 2015, an increase of 15,000 b/d from the previous year. Distillate exports to Central and South America averaged 595,000 b/d in 2015, up 10,000 b/d from the previous year. Chile was the region's largest single importer of U.S. distillate in 2015, averaging 101,000 b/d. As continued high U.S. refinery runs and a warmer-than-normal heating season combined to push U.S. distillate inventories above the five-year average and prices lower, exports of distillate to Western Europe also increased. In the third and fourth quarters of 2015, distillate exports to Western Europe increased year-over-year by 80,000 b/d and 136,000 b/d, respectively (Figure 1). Increased U.S. exports contributed to high distillate inventories in the major refining and petroleum hubs of Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Antwerp in Belgium, collectively known as the ARA.