U.S. Base Oil Exports Fall, Imports Rise


U.S. Base Oil Exports Fall, Imports Rise
A freight train moves through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver. Canada is a leading market for base oils produced in the United States and also exports substantial volumes of base oil to the U.S. © Locomotive74

Base oil exports from the United States fell 6% in 2022, while imports rose by the same amount, according to U.S. Energy Information data.

In December, the volume of base oil that the country exported dropped 41%, while the volume of base oil imported rose 30%, compared to the same month in 2021.

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The nation exported 34.1 million barrels last year, compared to 36.4 million barrels in 2021. Exports to Mexico dropped 34% to 8.3 million barrels, while shipments to Belgium and Brazil fell 23% to 4 million barrels and 9% to 3.4 million barrels, respectively, and those to India dropped 38% to 879,000 barrels.

Exports to Canada swelled 7% to 3.7 million barrels, while those to Nigeria jumped 390% to 960,000 barrels. The U.S. sent very little base oil to France in 2021 – just 39,000 barrels – but the amount skyrocketed to 762,000 barrels in 2022.

For December the U.S. exported just 1.8 million barrels, the lowest amount for any month last year. Volumes to most countries decreased: 47% to 510,000 barrels for Mexico; 83% to 77,000 barrels for Belgium; 18% to 237,000 barrels for Canada; 8% to 208,000 barrels for Brazil; 99% to 1,000 barrels for Nigeria; and 95% to 13,000 barrels for India.

The United State imported 17.9 million barrels of base oil in 2022, an increase from 16.8 million barrels in 2021. Canada and Qatar had been the first- and second-largest countries of origin in 2021, but South Korea passed both in last year as its shipments to the U.S. rose 22% to 4.3 million barrels. Canada’s declined 9% to 3.5 million barrels, while Qatar’s swelled 11% to 4.1 million barrels.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia increased 43% to 2.2 million barrels and 6% to 1.2 million barrels, respectively, while those from the Netherlands and Bahrain fell 26% to 815,000 barrels and 25% to 678,000 barrels.

In December, the U.S. imported 1.6 million barrels of base oil, compared to 1.2 million barrels in the same month in 2021. Shipments from South Korea and Qatar surged 89% to 560,000 barrels and 78% to 306,000 barrels, respectively, compared to the same month of 2021.

Canada’s volume fell 14% to 262,000 barrels, while the U.A.E.’s climbed 22% to 209,000 barrels.

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