Base Stocks

Base Oil Trade


United States

United States base oil exports fell approximately 6% from 2021 volumes. While the countries receiving significant volumes of U.S.-made base oils more or less stayed consistent with previous years, exports to Latin American countries like Colombia and Chile saw a stark increase in 2022. Exports to Canada—one of the United States’ most consistent base oil trading partners—swelled 7%. Meanwhile, exports to Nigeria jumped 390%.

Conversely, the country’s imports rose by about 6% in 2022. While the U.S. continued to buy base oil from tried-and-true countries in 2022, the portions from its top sources—South Korea, Qatar, Canada, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia—did fluctuate a bit. Canada and Qatar had been the first- and second-largest countries of origin in 2021, but South Korea passed both in 2022 when its shipments to the U.S. rose 22%. Canada’s exports to its southern neighbor declined 9%, while Qatar’s swelled 11%.

Annual U.S. Imports and Exports of Base Oils
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Top Destinations of U.S. Base Oil Exports
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Top Sources of U.S. Base Oil Imports
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

South Korea

South Korea is among the world’s largest exporters of base oil, shipping out more than 4 million metric tons in 2022. Nearly 60% of that capacity is API Group III and about 40% is Group II. More than half of those exports go to India, China and the United States, which have been the top export destinations for South Korean base oils for quite some time.

South Korean Base Oil Exports
Source: Korea Customs Service

Related Topics

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