The U.S. exported the most petroleum products, most of it propane, in the first half of 2022 than it has in 49 years, and some of it came no doubt from Oklahoma’s oil patch.
While environmentalists and those pushing for ‘green’ energy, including President Biden, have condemned the oil and gas industry, it’s clear the products of the fossil fuel industry of the United States is still sorely wanted and needed by other countries.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. exports of petroleum products, from January through June, averaged nearly 6 million barrels per day (b/d), the most first-half-of-year exports in Petroleum Supply Monthly data, going back to 1973.
U.S. petroleum product exports increased in the first half of 2022 by 11% (596,000 b/d) compared with the first half of 2021—the fastest growth rate for that time period since 2017. Nearly all petroleum products contributed to increased exports, and the largest volumes came from distillate fuel oil and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs), which include propane.
Distillate fuel oil exports increased by 19% (190,000 b/d) from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022. High demand and low inventories globally, along with economic sanctions against Russia and self-sanctioning by some firms after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, have disrupted global distillate trade. Despite changes in trade patterns for other products, Europe’s imports of distillate from Russia, so far, show little change from 2021.
Europe’s sanctions, adopted in June, prohibit imports of crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia, including distillate fuel oil, and will take effect in December for crude oil and in February 2023 for petroleum products. Because these sanctions have not yet gone into effect, we have not seen the expected increase in U.S. exports to Europe, and instead exports to Europe decreased to 71,000 b/d in the first half of 2022, while U.S. distillate exports to Latin America increased to more than 1 million b/d.
Propane was the most-exported U.S. petroleum product in the first half of this year by volume, continuing a trend started in 2020. U.S. propane exports averaged 1.4 million b/d in the first half of 2022, a 6% increase (78,000 b/d) from the first half of 2021. U.S. exports to Asia have grown rapidly in recent years as consumption of propane as a petrochemical feedstock and consumer demand have both increased.
This year, changing supply patterns have increased Europe’s demand for U.S. propane. Most of the growth in propane exports in the first half of 2022 went to Europe. U.S. propane exports to Europe increased by 51% (87,000 b/d) and set a record of 349,000 b/d in June.
U.S. motor gasoline exports increased by 11% (89,000 b/d) to reach a record of 910,000 b/d for the first half of 2022. U.S. jet fuel exports more than doubled in the first half 2022 compared with the same period last year. Only U.S. residual fuel oil exports declined slightly compared with last year, to 113,000 b/d.