US Oil Exports in Decline - BBH
Analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman recall that the US lifted its ban on oil exports in December, but explained it appears, however, that US oil exports have fallen rather than risen here at the start of 2016.
"Clipper Data was quoted in the Financial Times suggesting that US oil exported via tankers has fallen by around 5% to 325k barrels a day. Such shipments of oil were 342k barrels a day in Q1 2015.
A good art of the explanation is Canada. Oil exports to Canada were not subject to the ban. Exports to Canada are less attractive now, and exports elsewhere have not picked up the slack. One of the important developments in Canada was the reversing of a pipeline (Line 9B) which allowed crude oil to be transported from the West to the East. Previously, the Quebec would often get US oil by tanker.
The spread between Brent and WTI has narrowed. WTI is a little cheaper but not enough to offset transportation costs. It is not as if the world was waiting for US crude and it is not like the price is sufficiently attractive to for US producers to gain market share.
Not only are US oil exports soft in the first quarter, but imports have been strong. Oil imports are running near four year highs. There is strong domestic demand, and US refineries are busy creating diesel and petrol products to meet foreign demand."
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