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The United States has become a global crude oil exporting power over the past few years, but since World War II, exports have not exceeded its imports. That may change next year.

US crude oil sales to other countries now stand at a record 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd), with about 3 million barrels of refined products such as gasoline and diesel being exported. The United States is also the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), where growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years.

But the US consumes 20 million barrels of crude oil a day, the most in the world, and its production has never exceeded 13 million barrels a day. Until recently, it was foolish to think that it would be anything but a major oil importer.

Dust blows around a crude oil pump chamber and ignites, burning off excess gas at a drilling rig in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S., November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant (Reuters Photos)

Last month, US government data showed net US crude imports fell to 1.1 million barrels per day, the lowest since 2001. That’s down sharply from five years ago, when the United States imported more than 7 million barrels. barrels per day.

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Factors changing this equation include sanctions that have hurt Russian oil and natural gas exports since the invasion of Ukraine, and Washington’s massive release of oil from emergency reserves to combat high gasoline prices.

“Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has spurred new US energy demand and should push oil exports ahead of imports late next year, suggesting an acceleration in shale production,” said Rohit Rathod, energy researcher at Vortexa.

FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen in an aerial photo at the Cushing Oil Terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma, U.S., April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Drone Base/File photo

To become a net exporter of crude oil, the United States must either boost production or curb consumption. U.S. oil demand is expected to grow 0.7% to 20.51 million barrels per day next year, meaning output should rise.

Oil prices rise after China begins reopening its economy.

The US already produces more oil than any other country in the world, including Saudi Arabia and Russia. US shale fields are aging and production growth has been slow this year. Total production is expected to reach a record 12.34 million barrels per day next year, but only if prices are profitable enough to encourage oil drillers to produce more.

European refiners raised U.S. grades to offset the loss of Russian oil, and Asian refiners increased purchases by 1.75 million barrels a day due to deeper discounts for U.S. crude, data analyst Kpler said.

Crude oil vessels in California

Crude oil tanks are displayed at the Port of Long Beach, California, U.S., March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake (Reuters Photos)

Export terminal operators are scrambling to upgrade their capacity to better handle the giant tankers that can carry more than 2 million barrels of oil.

“Russia has proven to be an unreliable supplier,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO of Corpus Christi, the largest US oil exporter. “It creates a really great opportunity for American manufacturers and American energy.”

Corpus Christi could see exports rise by 100,000 bpd next year, Strawbridge said, on top of record shipments of 2.2 million bpd in October.

Analysts say net exports could fall if many countries around the world fall into recession, hampering demand, and if further easing of sanctions on Venezuelan crude boosts shipments from that country.

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LNG SETS A RECORD

The United States has become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the first half of 2022, overtaking Qatar and Australia, driven by rising demand and prices from Europe.

LNG exports are likely to continue rising through 2023 as Europe tries to fill up storage this winter, Kpler analyst Matt Smith said.

Exports of processed products fell due to factory closures and reduced consumer demand. During September this year, the US exported an average of 3.1 million barrels of fuel, compared to 3.2 million barrels in the same period of 2019, EIA data showed.

One exception was diesel, where exports rose to a three-year high of 1.3 million barrels per day in July, Kpler data showed. Europe’s impending ban on Russian fuel has pushed diesel supplies to Europe to an average of 330,000 bpd in the first 15 days of December, five times the monthly average this year.

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