Following a seasonal surge in December 2017, the US seaborne export of oil products reached the highest annual level ever, in terms of volume and tonne miles demand.
Volumes of US seaborne exports of oil products has increased by 9% in 2017 compared to 2016. This amounts to an additional export of 10.8 million tonnes – equivalent to 80 million barrels. The average seaborne exports of US oil products in 2017 was 2.7 million barrels per day, compared to 2.5 million barrels per day in 2016.
The US seaborne exports of oil products saw an annual decrease in tonne mile demand for 2014, 2015 and 2016, as the average sailing distance decreased more than the volumes increased. However, for 2017, the tonne mile demand is up 9% compared to 2016, as both volumes and average sailing distances are increasing.
“The recent development in exported oil products from the US provides the oil product tanker shipping industry with steady growth in volumes and yet again growth in tonne miles demand. Overall, we see oil product tankers operating in an improving market in 2018, with better market fundamentals for both demand and supply,” Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst, said.
“Still, the oil product tanker sector may only break-even in 2018, if demand growth is low throughout the year,” Sand added.
With 15 out of the top 20 importers based in the Americas, 76% of all oil products exported via the sea are bound for destinations on the American continent, which is underlined by the short average sailing distance of 3,270 nautical miles.
According to BIMCO, ports based in Texas and Louisiana on the US Gulf Coast, are responsible for 80% of all seaborne oil products exported in 2017.