U.S. crude oil exports grew to an average of 1.1 MMBOPD in 2017, the EIA said, which is the second full year since restrictions on crude oil exports were removed. Crude oil exports in 2017 were nearly double the level of exports in 2016. Increased U.S. crude oil exports were supported by increasing U.S. crude oil production and expanded infrastructure, the EIA said.

U.S. Crude Oil Exports 1920-2017, Mar. 2018

U.S. Crude Oil Exports 1920-2017, Mar. 2018

According to the EIA, U.S. crude oil exports went to 37 destinations in 2017 – this compares to 27 destinations in 2016. As usual, Canada was the largest destination for U.S. crude oil exports. However, Canada’s share has gone down from 61% in 2016, to 29% in 2017.

U.S. crude oil exports to China accounted for 202,000 BPD (20%) of the 527,000 BPD total increase. China passed the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to become the second-largest destination for U.S. crude oil exports in 2017.

Plenty of European nations are receiving U.S. crude oil exports.  The United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, France and Spain are some of the nations that have been pumping in crude imports. India, which did not receive U.S. crude oil exports in 2016, received 22,000 BPD in 2017. India tied with Spain as the 10th largest destination.

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

U.S. Crude Oil Export Destinations 2017, Mar. 2018

Crude oil now makes up 18% of total U.S. petroleum exports, the EIA said, making it the third-largest petroleum export after hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) and distillate fuel. Before the restrictions on domestic crude oil exports were lifted in December 2015, most of the growth in U.S. petroleum exports was petroleum products—mainly HGLs (such as propane), distillate fuel and motor gasoline.

Previously, crude oil’s largest share of total U.S. petroleum exports was 13% in 1999, when total volumes of U.S. petroleum exports were less than 1 MMBOPD, which was much lower than the 6.3 MMBOPD total in 2017.

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

Total U.S. Crude Oil and Petroleum Exports, Mar. 2018

Increasing U.S. crude oil production and expansions of U.S. pipeline capacity and export infrastructure facilitated increased crude oil exports. U.S. crude oil production reached 9.3 MMBOPD in 2017, a 0.5 MMBOPD increase from 2016. The EIA’s March STEO forecasts U.S. crude oil production to increase by 1.4 MMBOPD in 2018.

60 years later, American natural gas returns to the spotlight

The United States exported more natural gas than it imported in 2017, making it the first time since 1957 that the U.S. has been a net natural gas exporter. The transition to net exporter occurred as natural gas production in the United States continued to grow, reducing pipeline imports from Canada and increasing exports, both by pipeline and as LNG.

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

U.S. Annual Natural Gas Trade 1975-2017, Mar. 2018

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

U.S. Dry NatGas Production 1975-2017, Mar. 2018

The United States surpassed Russia in 2009 as the world’s largest natural gas producer as shale gas production drove overall increases in natural gas production. Production reached an average of 73.6 Bcf/d in 2017, a 1% increase from the 2016 level and just slightly lower than the 2015 record level.

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

U.S. NatGas Exports, Mar. 2018

As the United States produced more natural gas, pipeline imports from Canada have decreased. With new pipeline capacity coming on line, more natural gas can be delivered to regions in the Midwest and Northeast, displacing Canadian imports and increasing U.S. pipeline exports to Canada.

U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity into Mexico has also increased over the past few years, driven by growth in demand for natural gas from Mexico’s power sector and favorable prices compared with natural gas supplied by LNG shipments, the EIA said.

U.S.-Mexico natural gas pipeline capacity is currently 11.2 Bcf/d, with another 3.2 Bcf/d of capacity scheduled to be added later in 2018. Pipeline exports to Mexico have grown along with pipeline capacity, more than doubling since 2014 and averaging 4.2 Bcf/d in 2017.

U.S. Crude Oil, NatGas Exports Both Hit New Highs

Annual U.S. LNG Exports by Destination 1975-2017, Mar. 2018

U.S. LNG exports increased dramatically over the past two years as new liquefaction capacity has come online. The only liquefaction terminal previously operating in the United States — the Kenai LNG terminal in Alaska — ceased operations in 2015.

In 2016, as the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana began to ramp up operations, increasing U.S. LNG exports. Sabine Pass now has four operating liquefaction units, with a fifth currently under construction.

The Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland exported its first LNG cargo on March 1, 2018. Cove Point is the second currently operating LNG export facility in the United States, after Sabine Pass. Four other LNG projects are under construction and are expected to increase U.S. liquefaction capacity from 3.6 Bcf/d to 9.6 Bcf/d by the end of 2019.

EIA’s STEO projects that the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas in each month remaining in 2018 and each month of 2019 as pipeline exports to Mexico continue to grow along with LNG export capacity.

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