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• The US imported 7.90mn b/d of crude in December, the highest volume since September 2013. For 2015 as a whole volumes at 7.35mn b/d were little-changed from 2014’s 20-year low, but they rose strongly late in the year after the December lifting of a 40-year old ban on seaborne crude exports.
• This has led to the US exporting increasing volumes of light sweet crude – 2015 exports of 458,000 b/d were the highest ever (see graph 1) – with its refineries importing more heavier sour grades to compensate. Imports’ percentage of US crude supply edged above 40% in December for the first time in two years. Provisional EIA weekly import data show imports continuing at near-7.9mn b/d levels in January and February (see table, p13).
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