OPEC crude exports to US remain choppy
Back at the start of December, we discussed how Venezuelan crude deliveries to the U.S. were sliding, and particularly to Citgo refineries. December ended up being the lowest level of Venezuelan grades to the U.S. on our records, as total Venezuelan crude exports dropped under 1.1 million barrels per day.
Both total Venezuelan exports and flows to the U.S. have rebounded in January, but flows to the U.S. are still below the first eleven months of last year. Certain refiners, such as PBF, are still shirking Venezuelan crude amid quality concerns, with no deliveries to PBF’s Chalmette refinery in January for the first month since at least 2012.
On the flip side, Valero refineries – and specifically Port Arthur and St Charles – accounted for 40 percent of Venezuelan deliveries to the U.S. last month, after averaging less than 30 percent in 2017, while deliveries to Citgo refineries clambered back above the 100,000 bpd mark for the first month in three amid a seeming lack of appetite for Venezuela’s crude.
Another refinery has been increasing its imports of Venezuelan crude: Motiva’s Port Arthur, the largest refinery in the U.S.. It has received deliveries of medium sweet Zuata 20 in each of the last two months, after a five-month absence of Venezualan crude.
We discussed last year how the Port Arthur refinery had – somewhat ironically – been pulling in increasing volumes of Iraqi crude, as Saudi Arabia made a conscious effort to cut flows to the U.S.. After four consecutive months of lower Saudi deliveries, we saw a rebound in October, while Iraqi deliveries retraced.
Strength in Saudi deliveries into the end of the year meant that flows from the kingdom accounted for
About The Author
Matt is a Director of Commodity Research at ClipperData. Matt specializes in extracting key themes from technical and fundamental analysis of the global energy market, and communicating these through daily and weekly deliverables. He also provides oil and natural gas analysis and commentary to national and international media outlets that include CNBC, Fox Business, Russia 24, the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, AFP, Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Oil Daily. Prior to joining ClipperData, he worked for eight years at Schneider Electric / Summit Energy as a Global Commodity Analyst, where he also founded and authored the blog, Energy Burrito. He started his career at the Royal Bank of Canada in the UK, spending eight years with the bank. During that time, he managed $55 million in assets as a portfolio manager and financial analyst.