Category Archives: Export of North American crude

This Fracked Gas Well Has Been Burning 2 Weeks

Three important reports in an email from DeSmog, by Brendan DeMelle, Sept 14, 2019

Stopping the export of North American fossil fuels
As the Democratic presidential candidates were gathering for a debate in Houston on Thursday, Greenpeace activists were rappelling off a bridge over the city’s ship channel, blocking vessel traffic all the way to Galveston. Their aim? Shutting down this essential U.S. artery that exports fossil fuels to the world.

Fracked gas well burning
In neighboring Louisiana, Julie Dermansky has stunning drone footage of a fracked gas well that suffered a blowout and has been burning for more than two weeks. State officials, which have minimized concerns about air pollution, predict the well will continue burning for the next month

Unfair fees on electric vehicles
Meanwhile, Consumer Reports says the annual fees many states have slapped on electric car owners are unfair compared to the gas taxes paid by gas-guzzlers. Ben Jervey has the story of the corporate influence behind these punishing fees.

Have a story tip or feedback? Get in touch: editor@desmogblog.com.

Thanks,
Brendan DeMelle
Executive Director

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to get the latest updates from DeSmog.

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    U.S. petroleum product exports set record high in 2018

    Annual average now at 5.6 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 366,000 b/d from 2017 levels

    Principle contributor Matt French, Today In Energy (US Energy Information Administration), April 23, 2019
    U.S. petroleum product exports
    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

    U.S. exports of total petroleum products set a record high in 2018, reaching an annual average of 5.6 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 366,000 b/d from 2017 levels. The three largest petroleum product exports from the United States in 2018 were distillate, propane, and motor gasoline. U.S. exports of motor gasoline (including blending components) and propane reached record highs in 2018, and exports of distillate reached their second-highest volume on record, following the high set in 2017.

    Total U.S. petroleum product exports set a record high in 2018 for the 16th consecutive year. From 2009 to 2013, distillate exports contributed the most to annual growth. However, from 2014 to 2018, exports of hydrocarbon gas liquids, which include propane, drove U.S. petroleum product export growth.

    As U.S. crude oil production increased over the past decade, gross inputs into refineries also increased. Petroleum products can be used domestically, exported, or put into inventory. In 2018, record-high levels of U.S. crude oil production and refinery runs helped refiners export large volumes of petroleum products, even with high levels of domestic demand.

    monthly U.S. distillate exports and destinations
    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

    Despite an 80,000 b/d decrease in exports in 2018 from 2017, distillate remained the most exported petroleum product in 2018, averaging 1.3 million b/d, or approximately 25% of U.S. refinery net production. Distillate exports were still more than 100,000 b/d higher than the previous five-year average (2013–2017). The United States exported distillate to 64 destinations in 2018, with the largest volumes destined for Mexico.

    Mexico received an average of 298,000 b/d, or 23% of U.S. distillate exports, increasing 42,000 b/d from 2017. Mexico’s increasing exports were likely driven by the country’s refineries that continued to operate below capacity in 2018, as reported by trade press. Brazil received the second-largest share of distillate exported from the United States, averaging 151,000 b/d (12% of U.S. distillate exports), down by 57,000 b/d from 2017. Chile, Peru, and the Netherlands comprise the remainder of the top five recipients of U.S. distillate exports.

    monthly U.S. propane exports and destinations
    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

    U.S. propane exports reached a record high of 972,000 b/d in 2018, surpassing the previous record of 914,000 b/d set in 2017. Propane exports in 2018 were greater than motor gasoline exports for the third consecutive year, and propane remained the second-largest U.S. petroleum product export. Unlike other U.S. petroleum product exports, which tend to stay in the Western Hemisphere, significant volumes of U.S. propane often reach Asian markets. Three of the top five destinations are in Asia. Propane is used in many Asian countries as a feedstock for producing ethylene and propylene, which are building blocks for chemical and plastic manufacturing.

    Japan received the largest share of U.S. propane exports, more than 258,000 b/d (or 7%) of total U.S. propane exports, an increase of 48,000 b/d from 2017 volumes. Exports to Korea and the Netherlands increased by 25,000 b/d and 21,000 b/d, respectively. However, exports to China fell by 62,000 b/d, a 49% year-over-year decline. Mexico received the second-largest share of U.S. propane exports in 2018 at an average of 131,000 b/d, which was down 7,000 b/d from 2017 levels.

    monthly U.S. motor gas exports and destinations
    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

    U.S. exports of motor gasoline (including blending components) reached 44 destinations in 2018 and set a record high of 951,000 b/d, up 126,000 b/d from 2017 levels. This increase in exports came despite high levels of domestic gasoline consumption, averaging 9.3 million b/d in 2018, only slightly lower than the record-high level set in 2017.

    U.S. refiner and blender net production of finished motor gasoline increased more than 100,000 b/d to 10.1 million b/d in 2018, a record high, and helped contribute to the simultaneous high levels of domestic consumption and export volumes. The five largest shares of U.S. gasoline exports were all in the Americas. In 2018, Mexico received 529,000 b/d of U.S. gasoline exports, or 56% of total U.S. gasoline exports, which was 60,000 b/d more than in 2017. Exports to Canada increased by 25,000 b/d, to average 62,000 b/d, or 6% of U.S. gasoline exports in 2018.

    Principal contributor: Matt French

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      Lifting of trade restrictions has expanded crude oil’s reach

      Repost from Bloomberg News

      Here’s who’s buying up U.S. oil

      By Sheela Tobben, August 17, 2016

      U.S. crude oil is reaching all corners of the world, after a 40-year ban on exports was lifted at the end of last year.

      More than 87 million barrels of crude and condensate have been shipped to 17 countries in the first half of 2016, based on Bloomberg calculations from Census Bureau data. Most has gone to Canada, which received 53.5 million barrels, followed by Curacao, which took 8.68 million, and the Netherlands with 6 million. Canada was already a customer, having been largely exempt from the limits.

      Click to enlarge

      The U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama agreed in December to end the trade restrictions, which were established after OPEC oil embargoes that crippled U.S. supplies in the 1970s.

      Other buyers include the U.K, Japan and even the Marshall Islands, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

      “The data for shipments to the Marshall Islands could have been a mistake, those were probably tankers with the Marshall Islands flag,” said John Auers, executive vice president of Turner Mason & Co., a Dallas-based consulting firm. “It’s possible that those cargoes were headed for Asia.”

      There are still many countries that have yet to buy any American oil this year. India, South Korea and Germany are among the top crude importers in the world, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI). Yet none has received U.S. crude after the ban was lifted.

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        Emergency Moratorium Stops All Unrefined Oil, Coal, and LNG Export Infrastructure Projects in Whatcom County, WA

        Repost from the Bellingham Herald
        [Editor: Here is the Whatcom County ordinance.  See also Eddie Scher’s statement from STAND.  – RS]

        Whatcom County puts new unrefined fossil fuel exports on hold

        By Samantha Wohlfeil, August 10, 2016
        [NOTE from your Benicia Independent Editor: The Bellingham Herald story inserts a video here, which amounts to a 2-minute public relations piece for BP Cherry Point with no apparent relation to the story about Whatcom County’s August 9 emergency action. Regardless, the video is an interesting look at an industry attempt at reassuring the public that oil trains are safe. I am choosing NOT to embed this commercial video here. View it at the Bellingham Herald.]

        BELLINGHAM  >  No new applications to ship unrefined fossil fuel through Cherry Point can be approved for at least the next two months after Whatcom County Council passed an emergency moratorium Tuesday night, Aug. 9.

        The council unanimously passed the moratorium to address concerns about potential public health and safety risks that could come with the increased transportation of unrefined fossil fuels, such as crude oil traveling by rail through the county to two refineries at Cherry Point.

        The moratorium does not impact the current refining and shipment of products through the BP Cherry Point and Phillips 66 refineries.

        In July, the council directed the Planning Commission to study changes to the county’s 20-year Comprehensive Plan that could prevent any future export of unrefined fossil fuels from Cherry Point.

        The council gave the commission until January to take testimony, study the issue, and make a recommendation on whether the changes should be made.

        Until Tuesday night, the question of whether new applications for exports might be submitted in the meantime, in order to get ahead of any ban, was still up in the air.

        In December 2015, Congress lifted a 40-year ban on exporting domestic crude oil to other countries. That created a concern for some that local refineries could shift to shipping unrefined materials abroad, eliminating local refinery jobs.

        Effective immediately, the emergency moratorium prohibits the filing and acceptance of applications for county permits for new or expanded facilities that would facilitate the increased shipment of unrefined fossil fuels out of Cherry Point.

        It defines unrefined fossil fuels as including, but not limited to, “all forms of crude oil whether stabilized or not; raw bitumen, diluted bitumen, or syncrude; coal; methane, propane, butane and other ‘natural gas’ in liquid or gaseous formats; and condensate.”

        Environmental groups lauded the council’s move.

        “It shows bold leadership that protects our community and responds to concerns that have been expressed by thousands of people throughout this process about the dangerous risks that coal, crude oil and natural gas exports pose to public health and safety in Whatcom County,” said Matt Petryni, clean energy program manager for RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. RE Sources was one of several environmental organizations rallying people to comment on the proposed unrefined fossil fuel export ban.

        Alex Ramel, field director for Stand’s Extreme Oil Campaign, said the moratorium showed Whatcom County was ahead of the curve in policy making.

        “This is nation-leading and proactive that the council acted to protect the community from unrefined fossil fuel transport,” Ramel said.

        Council members specifically wanted to ensure the moratorium and its wording recognize the positive impact existing industry and the refineries have on the community.

        “I find the moratorium helpful. I particularly find it helpful because of the discussion that differentiates between raw materials like crude oil and finished products,” said Steve Garey, a former refinery worker and union president who represented workers at the refineries in Anacortes.

        Earlier in the evening, when the council was taking public comment on the rest of the Comprehensive Plan update, Garey told the council that when refineries are converted into exporting facilities, most of the workers lose their jobs.

        “It’s important to recognize that refineries need to move finished products, but none of us would be served if they were to shut those plants down and export crude oil,” Garey said in an interview after the moratorium was passed.

        The council must hold a public hearing on the emergency moratorium within 60 days. After that, an interim emergency moratorium could be put in place for up to six months, which would allow enough time for the Planning Commission to make its recommendation in January, council member Carl Weimer said. Weimer is the member who first proposed the changes.

        “That was key,” Weimer said. “I was scratching my head about whether I was going to support the whole comp plan because I felt we should support the Cherry Point amendments, but I’m fine with passing it while we have this protection in place.”

        Brad Owens, president of the Northwest Jobs Alliance, said the moratorium was premature.

        “The public deserves their due process through the Planning Commission, and pending the outcome of the Planning Commission’s evaluation, the council should respond accordingly,” Owens said.

        The moratorium states that under the Washington State Constitution, the county has authority to provide regulation of land uses within the county.

        The council also “recognizes the limits to its authority over transportation of certain goods imposed by federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution, and finds that this action is within its authority.”

        If any part of the moratorium is found to be unconstitutional or invalid by a court, the rest of it will remain in effect, the ordinance states.

        This story was updated at 10:05 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.
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