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US Oil Exports Might Continue to Grow


Jun. 11 2019, Updated 7:52 a.m. ET

Brent-WTI spread

On June 10, Brent crude oil active futures settled ~$9 higher than the WTI crude oil active futures. On June 3, the spread was at ~$8.

In the past five trading sessions, Brent crude oil August futures have risen 1.6%—compared to flat WTI or US crude oil July futures. During this period, the United States Brent Oil ETF (BNO) rose 2.5%—1.4 percentage points more than the rise in the United States Oil ETF (USO). BNO tracks Brent crude oil futures, while USO tracks US crude oil futures.

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Factors that could impact US oil exports

The above chart shows the generally positive relationship between US crude oil exports and the Brent-WTI spread since December 2015. Exports seem to follow the Brent-WTI spread with a lag. When the US lifted the ban on US crude oil exports in December 2015, US crude oil production started rising. From December 2015 to the week ending on May 31, US crude oil production rose ~35.1% to a record level of 12.4 MMbpd (million barrels per day).

In the same week, US crude oil exports fell by ~0.02 MMbpd to ~3.298 MMbpd. US crude oil exports rose by ~1.6 MMbpd year-over-year. Rising US oil production is behind the expansion in the spread. If US weekly oil production data continues to increase, the spread might expand and we could see US oil exports at a new high.


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