For the first time since monthly records began in 1973, the U.S. in September was a net petroleum exporter, the EIA said.
The U.S. in September exported 89,000 more barrels per day of petroleum — which includes crude oil and petroleum products — than it imported, according to a Dec. 5 "Today in Energy" report.
Net petroleum trade is calculated by subtracting total imports of crude oil and petroleum products from total exports of crude oil and petroleum products.
U.S. crude oil exports have grown from 591,000 bbl/d in 2016 to 2.8 million bbl/d in 2019, according to data through September, however the U.S. remains a net importer of crude oil, averaging 7 million bbl/d of imports through September, down from an average of 9 million bbl/d in 2009.
"The United States continues importing primarily heavy high-sulfur crude oils that most U.S. refineries are configured to process, and more than 60% of U.S. crude oil imports come from Canada and Mexico." the EIA said.
Although the U.S. continues to import more crude oil than it exports, it has gone from a net petroleum product importer of 698,000 bbl/d in 2009 to a net petroleum product exporter of 3.2 million bbl/d in the first nine months of 2019.
"The increase in refinery production of petroleum products has outpaced the increase in U.S. consumption, contributing to an increase in petroleum product exports," the EIA said.
From January through September, the U.S. exported 1.4 million bbl/d of distillate, 1.1 million bbl/d of propane and 864,000 bbl/d of motor gasoline.
On an annual basis, the U.S. has been a net exporter of distillate and residual fuel since 2008, a net exporter of hydrocarbon gas liquids and jet fuel since 2011 and a net exporter of motor gasoline since 2016.
The U.S. would be a net petroleum exporter for the first time on an annual basis if the EIA's forecasts calling for U.S. net petroleum exports to increase to an average of 751,000 bbl/d in 2020 are realized.