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Longer Sailing Distance Support the Fall of US Crude Oil Exports

Compared to the start of 2020, the demand generated by US Crude Oil exports has fallen by 9.7% in the first two months of 2021. The fall could have been worse. In terms of volume, seaborne crude oil exports have reduced by 18.8% to 20.9 million tonnes which is a 4.8 million tonnes decline from the last year.

The seaborne crude oil exports for all regions have fallen, but the Asia exports are among the least affected. It is only down by 1% or equivalent to one Aframax load. The longer sailing distances to Asian countries explain the smaller drops in exports. The drop is smaller when measuring seaborne shipping demand in tonne-miles than measured in tonnes.

A tonne of US Crude Oil export to Asia has covered an average sailing distance of 12.531 nautical miles this year. It is almost three times as high as the average sailing distance of exports to the rest of the world which is located at 4.490 nautical miles. The analysis takes a look at the developments in the US Crude Oil trade and domestic consumption and production. The analysis studies the effect of the tanker shipping industry as well.

In the Asian region, only three countries have seen higher imports this year than last. Only two of them have seen meaningful growth which is India and China. During the first two months of 2020, the US did not export any crude oil to China. They only saw the exports grow during the rest of the year. They ended up at 22.1% than that of 2019.

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