Preliminary data for the first two months of 2017 show US crude exports this year could well eclipse last year’s record of 520,000 b/d (MEES, 23 December 2016). According to weekly data from the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) the US exported 632,000 b/d in January and 934,000 b/d during the first 24 days of February.

A 40-year ban on seaborne crude exports was rescinded in 2015, with volumes almost quadrupling last year from 2013, when the US exported 134,000 b/d, all to Canada. Despite the boom in crude shipments, products and NGLs continue to collectively account for some 90% of overall US oil exports, which totaled 5.19mn b/d last year -- also a record (see table, p9). While Asian countries only receive 17% of total exports, that share has risen from just 11% in 2012, with overall volumes more than doubling to 881,000 b/d over the same period (see chart). Although these are not huge quantities in comparison to the volumes the Middle East heavyweights send to their core Asian markets, it is a significant enough rise for them to take notice (see main story). (CONTINUED - 262 WORDS)