The US crude oil export trade has grown significantly over the past few years, with further growth during the first five months of 2023. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “2023 so far has been another positive period for crude oil trade, despite the high oil prices and risks of economic recession. In Jan-May 2023, global crude oil loadings went up +9.4% y-o-y to 906.8 mln tonnes, excluding all cabotage trade, according to vessels tracking data from Refinitiv. This was well above the 828.6 mln tonnes in Jan-May 2022 and the 769.0 mln tonnes of Jan-May 2021, but also slightly above the 880.1 mln tonnes in the same period of 2020. Exports from the Arabian Gulf were up +4.2% y-o-y to 365.9 mln t in Jan-May 2023, and accounted for 40.4% of global seaborne crude oil trade. Exports from Russia have also increased by +6.9% y-o-y to 100.2 mln tonnes, or 11.1% of global trade. From West Africa, exports declined by -0.7% y-o-y to 72.1 mln t. From South America, exports surged by +22.5% y-o-y to 62.3 mln tonnes in Jan-May 2023”.
According to the shipbroker, “in terms of demand, seaborne imports into the European Union (27) increased by +7.2% y-o-y to 196.9 mln t in Jan-May 2023, with the EU accounting for 21.8% of global seaborne crude oil imports. Imports to China increased by +13.4% y-o-y to 207.0 mln t in Jan-May 2023, accounting for 22.9% of global trade. Volumes into India increased +4.7% yo-y to 99.0 mln t in Jan-May 2023”.
“The Unites States significantly boosted their crude oil production and exports since the shale “revolution”. Exports from the USA sharply increased in recent years, to the point that it is now the fourth largest exporter in the world, after Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Russia. In the full year 2022, USA ports accounted for 8.0% of global crude oil loadings (excluding cabotage).
About 52 percent of international crude exports from the USA are loaded in Corpus Christi, about 22 percent from Galveston, about 8 percent from Houston, about 5 percent from LOOP, about 3 percent from Bayport, about 3 percent from Beaumont. Given persisting infrastructure limitations, only about 51 percent of crude oil volumes loaded at USA ports are loaded on VLCCs. Most VLCC cargoes are loaded in Corpus Christi, Galveston and LOOP. About 23 percent of volumes are loaded on Suezmaxes, and as much as 25 percent is loaded on Aframaxes”, said Banchero Costa.
The shipbroker added that “in the 12 months of 2020, the USA managed to ship 137.8 mln tonnes of crude oil, up by +7.1% year-on-year. However in 2021 the USA exported just 134.3 mln t, down -2.5% y-o-y. In 2022, exports from the USA surged by +22.9% y-o-y to 165.1 mln tonnes. In the first 5 months of 2023, seaborne crude oil exports from the USA surged by a further +23.5% y-o-y to 79.5 mln tonnes (excluding cabotage), from 64.3 mln t in the same period of 2022. In terms of destinations for the shipments, it is quite diversified, with about 45% to Asia, 42% to Europe, and the rest to the Americas. Direction Europe, about 52.7 mln tonnes (32.0 percent of the total) were shipped from the USA to the European Union in the full 12 months of 2022, whilst about 17.1 mln tonnes (10.3 percent of the total) went to the United Kingdom. Specifically, 12.8 mln tonnes were shipped in Jan-Dec 2022 to the Netherlands, 8.3 mln t to Italy, 7.8 mln t to Spain, 7.2 mln t to France, 6.9 mln t to Germany, 2.5 mln to Denmark. Overall exports from the USA to the European Union increased by +44.7% y-o-y in the full 12 months of 2022, whilst to the United Kingdom increased by +32.6% y-o-y. Direction Asia, about 19.3 mln tonnes were shipped from the USA to South Korea in the 12 months of 2022 (11.7 percent of the USA’s total), an increase of +6.8% y-o-y. Exports from the USA to India declined by -18.8% y-o-y in the 12 months of 2022 to 15.4 mln tonnes. Volumes to Singapore surged by +311% y-o-y to 12.9 mln t from just 3.1 mln t in 2021. To Mainland China volumes increased by +9.8% y-o-y to 10.8 mln tonnes, and to Taiwan by +19.6% y-o-y to 8.1 mln t. To Japan volumes increased by +92.4% y-o-y to 1.5 mln t in Jan-Dec 2022”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide