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US petroleum product exports reach record high in 2014

EIA data shows increase in export of noncrude petroleum products
US petroleum product exports reach record high in 2014

EIA’s December Petroleum Supply Monthly data show that exports of noncrude petroleum products from the United States averaged 3.8 million b/d in 2014, an increase of 347,000 b/d from 2013, and a new record high. Increased exports of motor gasoline and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), including propane and butane, were the main contributors to the trend, while exports of distillate decreased.

Record-high US refinery runs, which averaged 16.1 million b/d in 2014, and increased global demand for petroleum products allowed US petroleum product exports to increase for the 13th consecutive year. US exports are mostly sent to nearby markets in Central America and South America, which grew year-over-year by 172,000 b/d (15%), followed by exports to Canada and Mexico, which rose 80,000 b/d (8%). The only decline in exports was to the Middle East, which went from 55,000 b/d in 2013 to 47,000 b/d in 2014. However, in 2014, there was more change on a product-by-product basis, both in quantity exported and destination—in particular exports of motor gasoline, HGLs, and distillate.

December 2014 exports of motor gasoline, which include finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, set a record high at 875,000 b/d. For the past several years, monthly exports of gasoline have been highest in November and December. As noted in a recent EIA analysis, low seasonal US gasoline demand in December creates a larger surplus of gasoline, particularly on the US Gulf Coast (PADD 3), resulting in increased exports to destinations farther afield such as Africa and Asia. As evidence of this trend, exports of motor gasoline to Africa and Asia rose 2200 b/d (6%) and 1200 b/d (20%), respectively, in 2014. The largest increase was in exports of motor gasoline to Central America and South America, which increased 42,000 b/d (27%). The leading recipients were Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama.

Increased US production and capacity to export HGLs, particularly on the US Gulf Coast, allowed exports of propane and butane to increase by 121,000 b/d (40%) and 44,000 b/d (149%), respectively, over 2013. Exports of propane to Asia, particularly Japan and China, where the fuel is used in cooking, heating, transportation, and as a petrochemical feedstock, nearly doubled in 2014 from 2013, increasing 40,000 b/d (95%). Propane exports to Central America and South America, historically the principal destination for US propane, increased 31,000 b/d (21%) from 2013. Exports of butane, which shares some uses with propane but is more suitable for use in warmer climates, grew to 74,000 b/d. In 2014, the United States exported 20,000 b/d of butane to Africa, an increase of 17,200 b/d (628%) from a year earlier.

Increases in motor gasoline and HGL exports offset a decline in distillate exports, which decreased 19,500 b/d, the first year-over-year decline in distillate exports since 2003. While exports of distillate increased year-over-year to traditional US export destinations like Central America and South America, whose imports from the United States rose 39,000 bbl/d (7%), and North America, which grew 3000 b/d (2%), they were offset by declines in exports to Western Europe and Africa, which decreased by 62,000 b/d (15%) and 8700 b/d (35%), respectively, in 2014. In the second half of the year increased European refinery runs, exports from recently upgraded Russian refineries, and new refinery capacity in the Middle East increased supply to European distillate markets, reducing the need for distillate from the US.
US average gasoline price up US$0.14, diesel prices increase

The US average retail price for regular gasoline rose $0.14 over last week, to $2.47/gal as of 3 March 2015, down $1.01/gal from a year ago. The large single week increase in the US average is the result of higher crude oil prices passed through to retail gasoline, exacerbated by a larger West Coast price increase as a result of regional refinery disruptions. The West Coast price increased $0.37 to $3.13/gal. The Gulf Coast price was up $0.11 to $2.2/gal, followed by the Midwest price, which rose $0.10 to $2.3/gal. The East Coast and Rocky Mountain price each increased $0.08 to $2.39/gal, and $2.12/gal, respectively.

The US average price for diesel fuel increased four cents from the week prior to $2.94 per gallon, down $1.08/gal from the same time last year. The East Coast price increased eight cents, to $3.08/gal. The West Coast price rose three cents to $3.08/gal, and the Rocky Mountain price increased $0.02 to $2.78/gal.

The Midwest price rose $0.02 to $2.85/gal, while the Gulf Coast price was up less than $0.01 to $2.80/gal.

US propane stocks decreased by 4.2 million bbl last week to 55.1 million bbl as of 27 February 2015, 27.9 million bbl (102.8%) higher than a year ago. Midwest inventories decreased by 2.5 million bbl and East Coast inventories decreased by 0.9 million bbl. Gulf Coast inventories decreased by 0.6 million bbl and

Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories decreased by 0.2 million bbl. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 8.1% of total propane inventories.

As of 2 March 2015, residential heating oil prices averaged nearly $3.29 per gallon, 10 cents per gallon higher than last week, and almost $0.94/gal less than last year's price for the same week. Wholesale heating oil prices averaged $2.37/gal, nearly $0.07/gal higher than last week and almost $0.99/gal lower when compared to the same time last year.

Residential propane prices averaged just below $2.30/gal, about $0.01/gal higher than last week, and $0.94/gal less than the price at the same time last year. The average wholesale propane price increased by $0.03/gal this week to $0.78/gal, nearly $0.73/gal lower than the 3 March 2014 price.

Image from EIA

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