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.

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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.