In the first half of 2016, the United States exported 4.7 million bpd of petroleum products, an increase of 500 000 bpd over the first half of 2015 and almost 10 times the crude oil export volume. While US exports of distillate and gasoline increased by 50 000 bpd and nearly 140 000 bpd, respectively, propane exports increased by more than 230 000 bpd. Propane surpassed motor gasoline to become the second largest US petroleum product export, after distillate.
Although total US petroleum product exports grew, export destinations remained largely unchanged. Mexico, Canada, and the Netherlands received the greatest volumes of US petroleum products in the first half of 2016, importing 775 000 bpd, 579 000 bpd, and 271 000 bpd, respectively. US petroleum products tend to stay in the Western Hemisphere. In 2015, approximately 60% of total petroleum product exports remained within the Western Hemisphere, down slightly from 65% in 2005.
Distillate exports averaged 1.2 million bpd in the first half of 2016, an increase of 50 000 bpd from the same period of 2015. Central and South America accounted for the largest share of US distillate exports, averaging more than 620 000 bpd in the first half of 2016, up more than 30 000 bpd from the same period of 2015. The largest single destination overall for US distillate exports was Mexico, which averaged 147 000 bpd in the first half of 2016.
US propane exports increased from 562 000 bpd in the first half of 2015 to 793 000 bpd in the same period of 2016. Exports to Asia and Oceania accounted for 94% of this growth. Japan imported the most US propane at 159 000 bpd in the first half of 2016, an increase of 111 000 bpd from 48 000 bpd in the same period of 2015. US exports of propane to Panama, however, fell from 41 000 bpd in the first half of 2015 to 7000 bpd in the first half of 2016.
The large increases in propane exports to Japan and decreases in propane exports to Panama could be a result of reduced ship-to-ship transfer activity. Some of the propane exports from the United States that undergo ship-to-ship transfers will cite the location of the transfer and not the final destination of the propane. This often results in larger than actual export numbers for the countries where the ship-to-ship transfers take place and in less than actual numbers for some final destinations.
Gasoline exports increased 138 000 bpd in the first half of 2016 compared with the first half of 2015. North America (Canada and Mexico) accounted for most of the growth, with an increase of 92 000 bpd. Similar to U.S. distillate fuel exports, Mexico represented the largest single recipient of US gasoline exports at 363 000 bpd in the first half of 2016, up from 283 000 bpd in the first half of 2015. As part of the energy reforms passed in 2013, Mexico liberalised its energy sector, allowing market participants other than the state company Petroléos Mexicanos (Pemex). In January 2016, as part of the liberalisation process, Mexico began to allow companies besides Pemex to import fuels, resulting in increased exports from nearby refineries along the US Gulf Coast. Canada was the second-largest recipient of US gasoline at 66 000 bpd in the first half of 2016, up from 55 000 bpd in the first half of 2015.
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