- OPEC March exports dropped by 361 kbd m/m led by Libya, Iraq, Angola and Algeria declines.
- Flows tended to shift away from Asia in March. Much of the marginal change came from a flip in flows from East to West of the Suez for crude originating in Angola, Iran and Iraq.
- Libya battled disruptions across much of the nation-states western production and exportation areas in March.
- Exports leaving Iraq through the Persian Gulf dropped in March largely due to maintenance operations at the SPM 1 berth that has prevented ship loadings at the terminal since February 27th.
- Saudi loadings hit a three-month high in March, but the Q1 loading average remained nearly in line with Oil Ministry expectations.
- Venezuelan oil export volumes remain at levels not seen in more than 15 years.
- Nigerian flows decreased by 96 kbd m/m, the first such decline in 6 months.
U.S. Exports Pull Back Slightly
U.S. exports pulled back considerably for week-ending 2/23, down 405 kbd w/w to finish at 1,341 kbd. For the second week in a row, flows to China tended to dominate, totaling 357 kbd and buoying the U.S. to China weekly export average that had been feeble through the first two weeks of February. Exports to the United Kingdom were also quite elevated, finishing at 297 kbd, the highest weekly total since late-December 2017. A small 86 kbd shipment was also sent towards Spain, the first such flow since mid-January. In total, exports to Europe finished down 195 kbd representing the lowest weekly volume in more than a month, likely due in part to a slow ramp up in seasonal refinery maintenance.
Canadian Exports to Rotterdam
Earlier this week, we sent out an update detailing an increase in Mexican export flows to Rotterdam, which averaged 60 kbd between October 2017 and January 2018. Canadian oil appears to be mimicking the trade pattern. The Minerva Antarctica left the NTL Terminal on February 8th loaded with approximately 770,000 barrels of oil. AIS signaling indicates an ETA of February 17th at Rotterdam. This is the first ever such trade flow since at least 2013.
OPEC January Exports – Basrah Record high
OPEC exported 26.1 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensates in January, decreasing by 67 kbd m/m.
Exports Settle on a New Normal
Libyan seaborne crude exports seem to have settled into relative stability over the past several months. Between October and December alone, export levels averaged 1,007 kbd up more than 80% from the same period a year earlier. A “soft production cap” of 1 million barrels-per-day is currently in place following negotiations with OPEC, of which Libya is a member-nation.
Much of 2017 realized month-over-month increases in crude leaving Libyan shores, with a short respite early in the year. March and April realized sharp drops in production due to outages at the Sharara Oil Field and armed clashes at the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports. In late-April, El Feel, a production field near Sharara, restarted production for the first time since 2014 helping fuel exports in the latter-half of 2017.
Over the past 3-weeks, world oil-on-water has fluctuated within a narrow bound. Between 12/4 and 12/20, oil-on-water remained between 850 and 875 million barrels, according to the 10-day moving average. This follows a November that realized world daily oil-on-water that trended lower by more than 100 million barrels.
Canadian Seaborne Exports Spike