US petroleum product exports in 2013 averaged 3.5 million b/d, up 10% from levels in 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration. In December 2013, US exports of petroleum products reached 4.3 million b/d, the first time to exceed 4 million b/d in a single month.
“The increase in exports was broad-based, affecting multiple products going to multiple regions,” EIA said.
Exports of distillate fuels in 2013 increased 110,000 b/d over the previous year to 1.1 million b/d, according to EIA data. This was accompanied by a 160,000 b/d increase in distillate fuel production in 2013 as the result of cost-advantaged US crude oil and natural gas and near-record-high refinery runs.
Distillate exports to Central and South America, already the largest destination for US produced distillate fuel, increased 60,000 b/d in 2013, reaching 550,000 b/d. Exports of distillate fuel to Europe increased 50,000 b/d to an average of 400,000 b/d in 2013.
Propane exports increased 130,000 b/d in 2013, averaging 300,000 b/d for the year, with almost half of the total going to Central and South America. Exports to Europe also doubled from 2012 levels to 55,000 b/d.
Increases in propane production and elevated inventories contributed to growth in propane exports. In 2013, US propane production increased 110,000 b/d compared with 2012, while consumption grew 90,000 b/d. Continued propane production growth in excess of consumption over several years filled propane inventories to 75.8 million bbl in October 2012, the highest level since 1998.
Gasoline exports averaged 550,000 b/d for the year, a 45,000 b/d increase over the level in 2012. December 2013 gasoline exports set a monthly record of 770,000 b/d. Gasoline exports increased to Africa, Central and South America, and Mexico.
Although generally declining, the amounts of US petroleum product imports continue to be significant, averaging 2.1 million b/d in 2013.
“Given present infrastructure constraints, the East Coast continues to import substantial amounts of gasoline from Europe and Canada,” EIA said, adding, “Likewise, imports play a critical role in supplying distillate and propane during the winter, particularly on the East Coast, when in-region production along with shipments from other regions are insufficient to meet the increases in demand, especially during very cold weather, as much of the country experienced this past winter.”