Oman is the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Middle East that is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Located on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s proximity to the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf grant it access to some of the most important energy corridors in the world, enhancing Oman’s position in the global energy supply chain (Figure 1). Oman plans to capitalize on this strategic location by constructing a world-class oil refining and storage complex near Ad Duqm, Oman, which lies outside the Strait of Hormuz (an important oil transit chokepoint).
Like many countries in the Middle East, Oman is highly dependent on its hydrocarbons sector. The Oman Ministry of Finance stated that finances have been severely affected by the decline in oil prices since mid-2014. In 2016, Oman lost more than 67% of its oil and natural gas revenues compared with oil revenue the country earned in 2014, despite achieving record production.1 Oil revenue accounted for 27% of Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, a decrease from 34% of GDP in 2015 and 46% in 2014, according to the Central Bank of Oman.2
The ninth iteration of the Oman 5-Year Plan (2016-2020) released in 2016, created in the context of sustained low oil prices, aims to enhance the country’s economic diversification by adopting a set of sectoral objectives, policies, and mechanisms that will increase non-oil revenue. Oman’s diversification program is largely aimed at expanding industries such as fertilizer, petrochemicals, aluminum, power generation, and water desalination. Concerted efforts to develop these sectors would also accelerate non-oil job growth in coming years.3However, with rising production levels and a growing petrochemical sector–which relies on liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) and natural gas liquids (NGL)–the country is unlikely to significantly alter its dependence on hydrocarbons as a major revenue stream in the short term.
Figure 1. Map of Oman
Source: Central Intelligence Agency World FactbookPetroleum and other liquid fuels
Oman’s petroleum and other liquids production averaged more than 1 million barrels per day in 2016, its highest production level ever. Oman was on track to maintain this production level in 2017, but it reduced production to approximately 970,000 barrels per day in early 2017 to meet the production cut it agreed to, along with members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).Sector organization
The Ministry of Oil and Gas coordinates the government’s role in Oman’s hydrocarbon sectors. Final approval on policy and investment, however, rests with the Sultan of Oman. The majority state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) holds most of Oman’s oil reserves and operates the Sultanate’s largest block, Block 6. PDO is responsible for more than 70% of the country’s crude oil production.4 In addition to the government’s 60% ownership stake in PDO, Shell (34%), Total (4%), and Portugal’s Partex (2%) also own stakes.5 In addition to the PDO, the Oman Oil Company (OOC) is responsible for energy investments both inside and outside of Oman. The OOC is fully owned by the government. The Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC) is owned by the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and by the OOC. It controls the country’s refining sector and owns both of Oman’s operating refineries, Sohar and Mina al-Fahal.6
The U.S. firm, Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), is the second-largest operator after PDO and has the largest presence of any foreign firm in Oman. Oxy operates mainly in northern Oman at Block 62 and Block 9, along with the Mukhaizna field in the south. Lebanese independent, Consolidated Contractors Energy Development (CCED), operates Blocks 3 and 4 with a 50% stake alongside Sweden’s Tethys Oil (30%) and Japan’s Mitsui (20%). Daleel Petroleum is a 50:50 joint venture between Omani private firm Petrogas and Chinese state firm China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and operates Block 5.Upstream
According to the Oil & Gas Journal, Oman had 5.4 billion barrels of estimated proved oil reserves as of January 2017, ranking Oman as the 7th largest proved oil reserve holder in the Middle East and the 22nd largest in the world.7 The majority of the fields are located within PDO’s concession area.
Figure 2. Oman major oil and natural gas infrastructure
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS EDINExploration and production
Enhanced oil recovery techniques helped Oman’s oil production rebound from a multi–year decline in the early 2000s.
Oman’s petroleum and other liquids (total oil) production ranks 7th in the Middle East and ranks among the top 25 oil producers in the world. Oman is the largest oil producer in the Middle East that is not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Oman’s annual petroleum and other liquids production peaked at 972,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2000, but dropped to 715,000 b/d by 2007. Oman successfully reversed that decline, and total oil production has risen, hitting a new peak of a little more than 1 million b/d in 2016 (Figure 3). Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques helped drive this production turnaround, along with additional production gains as a result of previous discoveries.
Several recent developments could contribute to future oil production growth in Oman. The major oil discoveries of 2016 were in north Oman (Figure 2, Table 1).Enhanced oil recovery
Oman’s ability to increase its oil and natural gas production relies heavily on innovative extraction technologies, such as EOR. Several EOR techniques are already used in Oman, including polymer, miscible, and steam injection techniques.8 Because of the relatively high cost of production in the country, Oman’s government offers incentives to international oil companies (IOCs) for exploration and development activities related to the country’s difficult-to-recover hydrocarbons. The government enlists foreign companies in new exploration and production projects, offering generous terms for developing fields that require the sophisticated technology and expertise of the private sector. Given the technical difficulties involved in oil production, the contract terms for IOCs have become more favorable in Oman than in other countries in the region, with some allowing significant equity stakes in certain projects.
Block 6, located in central and southern Oman and operated by PDO, is the center of current EOR operations, using all four of the EOR techniques with the Marmul field (polymer), Harweel field (miscible), Qarn Alam field (steam), and Amal-West field (solar). Solar EOR at Alam-West in southern Oman was the first solar EOR project in the Middle East, completed by GlassPoint Solar in 2012 and commissioned in early 2013. This project uses the production of emissions-free steam that feeds directly into current thermal EOR operations, reducing the need to use natural gas in EOR projects.9
In partnership with PDO, GlassPoint Solar is currently building the Miraah solar thermal plant to improve recovery of heavy and viscous crude oil from Amal oil field. The plant is expected to produce 1,021 megawatts (MW) of peak thermal energy in the form of 6,000 tons of solar steam each day (no electricity is produced). Construction on the project began in October 2015, with steam generation from the first glasshouse module expected in 2017.10
However, in 2016, because of relatively low crude oil prices and the resource-intensive nature of EOR, PDO announced it was placing more emphasis on accelerating conventional oil and gas opportunities instead of short-term expansion of EOR projects.11
Oman consumed 186,000 b/d of petroleum and other liquids in 2016 (Figure 4), most of which were petroleum products refined at Oman’s refineries and a small amount that was imported.
Oman is not a major refined petroleum product producer, although it has plans to expand the country’s refining and storage sectors. Oman aims to capitalize on its strategic location on the Arabian Peninsula by expanding its refining capabilities.
Oman has two refineries, Mina al Fahal and Sohar. As of early 2017, Minal al Fahal was operating at 106,000 b/d and Sohar at 116,000 b/d.12 Plans are underway to upgrade the facility at Sohar as part of the ORPIC-led Sohar Refinery Improvement Project (SRIP), scheduled for completion in 2017.13 Sohar’s capacity is expected to expand to 197,000 b/d from 116,000 b/d. In February 2017, ORPIC announced the mechanical completion of all Sohar units as part of the expansion project. A major bunkering and storage terminal near Sohar is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and the facility’s location outside the Strait of Hormuz could make it an attractive option for international crude oil shippers.14
The OOC and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) have signed a partnership agreement for their Ad Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company (DRPIC) joint venture to build a 230,000 b/d export refinery in a special economic zone under development at Ad Duqm on the Arabian Sea coast of central Oman and a 200 million barrel crude oil storage terminal at Ras Markaz.15 The storage terminal, with phase one estimated to be complete in 2019, will be one of the world’s largest crude oil storage facilities.16 The Ad Duqm refinery could be operational by 2022, with most of the plant’s output to be exported.17 According to the OOC, the cost of developing the refinery will be $6 billion–$7 billion. Both Oman and Kuwait will provide crude feedstock.
Oman does not have any international oil pipelines, although plans are in place to expand the country’s domestic pipeline infrastructure. The Muscat Sohar Pipeline Project (MSPP), built by ORPIC and scheduled to be completed in 2017, is a 180-mile refined product pipeline that will connect the Mina al-Fahal and Sohar refineries with a new storage terminal near Muscat airport and reduce tanker traffic between the two coastal facilities.18
Oman is an important oil exporter, particularly to Asian markets. In 2016, virtually all of the country’s crude oil exports went to countries in Asia, with 78% going to China.
Oman’s only export crude oil stream is the Oman blend, with an API gravity of 32, medium-light and sour (high sulfur- 1.33%) crude. Oman is an important crude oil exporter, particularly to Asian markets (Figure 5). In 2016, Oman exported 912,500 b/d of crude oil and condensate, its highest level since 1999.19
China is Oman’s largest export market, and that country received 78% of Oman’s crude oil exports in 2016, while Taiwan received the second-highest volume, despite falling by almost one-third from 2015 levels. Thailand, which had previously been a consistent purchaser of 40,000 to 50,000 b/d of Omani exports, bought only two small cargoes in 2016.20
The greatest growth potential for Oman’s natural gas production is in the Khazzan-Makarem field, Block 61. The planned start–up of that field in late 2017 could significantly ease pressure on Oman’s natural gas supplies.Sector organization
PDO has an even greater presence in the natural gas sector than it does in the oil sector, accounting for nearly all of Oman’s natural gas supply, along with smaller contributions from Occidental Petroleum, Oman’s largest independent oil producer, and Thailand’s PTTEP. The Oman Gas Company (OGC) directs the country’s natural gas transmission and distribution systems. The OGC is a joint venture between the Omani Ministry of Oil and Gas (80%) and OOC (20%). Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (Oman LNG)–owned by a consortium including the government, Shell, and Total–operates all liquefied natural gas (LNG) activities in Oman through its three liquefaction trains in Qalhat near Sur.21Exploration and production
Oman’s potential for natural gas production growth may be substantial, supported by promising developments in several new projects.
According to the Oil & Gas Journal, Oman held 23 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proved natural gas reserves in 2016.22 Oman’s natural gas production grew to 1.16 Tcf in 2016, turning around a recent decline and surpassing the previous high of 1.15 Tcf in 2013. Approximately 80% of production was from non-associated fields.23
Consumption more than doubled from 2006 to 2016, increasing from 380 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2006 to 820 Bcf in 2016 (Figure 6). Oman consumes slightly more than 70% of the natural gas it produces. Natural gas is becoming a key source of energy to the Omani economy with its increased focus on economic diversification away from oil.24 The Central Bank of Oman estimates that demand for natural gas will continue to rise going forward with the number of energy-intensive industries coming online combined with rising demand in the electric power sector.25 The concern over rising natural gas consumption prompted the Oman LNG company to announce in 2015 that it would divert all its exported volumes of natural gas away from foreign markets and toward domestic consumers by 2024.26
The greatest growth potential for Oman’s natural gas production is in the Khazzan-Makarem field in BP’s Block 61. The field is a tight gas formation, and BP proposed two phases to develop the 10.5 Tcf of recoverable gas resources. Combined plateau production from Phases 1 and 2 is expected to total approximately 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), equivalent to about 40% of Oman’s current total domestic gas production.27 This project will involve construction of a three-train central processing facility with associated gathering and export systems and drilling about 325 wells over a 15-year period.28 BP estimates that Phase 1 of the project is more than 80% complete29 and will be online by the end of 2017.30 The start-up of the Khazzan tight gas field will significantly ease the pressure on Oman’s natural gas supplies.
The Rabab Harweel integrated project (RHIP), located in Block 6, is PDO’s largest capital project underway. The project integrates sour miscible gas injection (MGI) in multiple oil reservoirs with production and pressure maintenance of a government gas condensate field, and it will also contribute to easing Oman’s overall natural gas demand. The RHIP is slated for completion in 2019.31
Oman is a member of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) and exports natural gas as LNG through its Oman LNG facilities near Sur, in the Gulf of Oman. In 2016, Oman exported 358 Bcf of natural gas (Figure 7).32 Nearly all of Oman’s natural gas exports go to South Korea and Japan, accounting for 80% of exports in 2016.33
Oman’s natural gas sector grew in importance over the past two decades, largely the result of two LNG trains that opened in 2000 at the LNG complex at Qalhat, near Sur, operated by Oman LNG (a joint venture between PDO and other shareholders). The third LNG train, operated by Qalhat LNG SAOC and built alongside the two existing trains, entered into production in 2005. Qalhat merged into Oman LNG in 2013. Its main shareholders are the Omani state (51%) and Shell Gas B.V (30%).
South Korea is Oman LNG’s primary buyer. Oman’s LNG exports have increasingly been under pressure as rising domestic consumption has cut into volumes available for export. LNG supplies received a boost last year with lower consumption from power stations, and these supplies will see a further boost from new production when the Khazzan gas field comes online in 2017. Khazzan volumes are primarily designated for domestic consumption, with excess volumes exported from Oman’s LNG facilities.
The Sultanate has been focused on diversifying its LNG export destinations because regional demand for LNG is growing. Oman LNG’s 2016 Annual Report reported the first-ever sales of two spot cargoes to Kuwait and Jordan as representing “new departures for our company” by exporting to new geographic destinations.34
Oman has one international natural gas pipeline–the Dolphin Pipeline–that runs from Qatar to Oman through the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Oman is not a major importer of natural gas, although the country imported approximately 74 Bcf of natural gas in 2016 from Qatar through the Dolphin Pipeline.35 According to the Omani government, the imports through the Dolphin Pipeline are necessary to meet the rising level of domestic natural gas consumption (including re–injection in oil wells).
In March 2014, Oman signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran on a natural gas import contract. The deal will deliver approximately 353 million cubic feet of natural gas per year through a new pipeline under the Gulf of Oman, much of which is slated to be re-exported as LNG. A new route was agreed upon in February 2017 to avoid UAE waters, and Iran is expecting natural gas to begin flowing in 2020.36Electricity
Oman’s electricity sector relies heavily on domestic natural gas to fuel electricity generation.
The Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER Oman) regulates the country’s electricity and associated water sectors. Its primary functions include implementing general policy from the state, licensing, compliance, and coordination between the various ministries, organizations, and stakeholders in the sector. The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) is the planning body for power supplies in Oman, and the Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC) is in charge of the country’s transmission networks.
Oman’s electricity sector has two major networks–the Main Interconnected System (MIS) and the Salalah system. The MIS, the larger of the two, covers most of the northern area of Oman. The Dhofar Power System (DPS) covers the city of Salalah and surrounding areas in the Governorate of Dhofar in the south. Areas outside both networks get electricity from the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO), primarily from diesel generators.37 The Sultanate’s power plants are almost entirely natural gas-fired, and OPWP expects peak demand from power plants connected to each of Oman’s two main power grids to rise by 6% per year through 2023.38
Oman’s electric generation more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, from 13 billion kilowatthours (kWh) to 33 billion kWh. Electricity consumption over the same period also grew at a fast rate, tripling from 10 billion kWh to 30 billion kWh.39 Oman generates electricity primarily from natural gas, although it also has some generation from diesel/distillate.
Oman is a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) grid interconnection system, which allows for electricity transfers between the six connected countries (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman).
OPWP plans to raise electricity generating capacity by 51% from 7.77 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2016 to 11.7GW in 2023 to meet rising demand. OPWP’s 2017 Seven-Year Plan sees peak power demand rising by 53%, from 6.52 GW in 2016 to 9.96 GW in 2023.40 Eleven firms have submitted applications to develop a 750–850 MW capacity power plant at Misfah for start-up in 2022. Misfah will be the first conventional large-scale power plant for which Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas will not guarantee a supply of natural gas fuel.41
Oman has a growing renewable energy sector, with several projects making progress. RAECO plans to install 90 MW of renewable capacity by 2020. UAE’s Masdar was awarded a contract to build the 50 MW wind farm at Harweel in the Dhofar region, estimated to start-up in 2017.42 In July 2015, Oman’s first commercial solar power project, with a 307 kilowatt-capacity, started generating electricity. RAECO will purchase electricity for 20 years from this plant operated by Bahwan Astonfield Solar Energy Company.43 Although Oman does not currently have a nuclear energy program, the country joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2009. Currently, the country has no plans to construct any nuclear generating facilities.
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The Global Small-Scale LNG Market is projected to grow from 30.8 MTPA in 2016 to 48.3 MTPA by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.7% between 2017 and 2022. The small-scale LNG market across the globe is driven by their increasing LNG demand from remote locations by applications, such as industrial & power, and the ability to transport LNG over long distances without the need for heavy investment such as pipelines. By terminal type, regasification terminal is expected to grow at a highest CAGR between 2017 and 2022. The increasing demand for LNG from the remote locations and global commoditization of LNG are some of the major factors that are driving the demand for small-scale LNG in this segment.
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The Linde Group (Germany), Wärtsilä (Finland), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), General Electric (U.S.), and Engie (France), among others are the leading companies operating in the small-scale LNG market. These companies are expected to account for significant shares of the small-scale LNG market in the near future.
Critical questions the report answers:
Growth Drivers are :
Energy cost advantage of LNG over alternate energy sources for end-users
Heavy duty transport companies save approximately 30% on fuel costs on LNG-fueled trucks, compared to diesel fueled trucks, and produce 30% lower emissions. Air pollution from diesel engines is one of the biggest concerns, especially in areas that struggle to meet air-quality standards. On the other hand, natural gas causes complete combustion and fewer emissions than diesel. It is estimated that increasing environmental concerns from the utilization of diesel vehicles is likely to increase the adoption of green fuel technologies such as natural gas. In the case of electric power generation, natural gas engines below 150 KW are more cost effective than oil fueled engines. Fuel cost is one of the major cost for road transportation, which is strongly subject to excise taxation. Typically, an LNG-fueled Volvo FM truck can travel up to 600 km with LNG. With an additional 150 litres of diesel, it can travel up to 1,000 km without refuelling. Thus, reducing the cost of travel. With additional LNG liquefaction capacity expected to come online in the next few years, an oversupply of LNG is expected, which will drive the price of LNG further lower. Considering all these factors, both developed and developing countries are undertaking feasibility studies to recognize the techno-economics of shifting their economies from diesel to natural gas. Therefore, the cheap price of small-scla LNG over others alterantive fuels will drive the growth during the forecast period.
Small-scale LNG terminals are regarded as facilities, including liquefaction and regasification terminals, with a capacity of less than 1 million tons per annum (MTPA) within the scope of this study. It includes the LNG produced from small-scale liquefaction terminals and regasified at small-scale regasification terminals for catering to applications such as LNG-fueled heavy-duty transport, LNG-fueled ships, and industrial & power generation.
North America small-scale LNG market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
The North America small-scale LNG market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. In North America, most of the small-scale LNG demand in industrial & power applications is met through peak shaving facilities. The peak shaving facilities are used to meet adequate supply of LNG to address the peak demand. In 2015, there were more than 100 peak shaving facilities in the U.S., among which one-half of the peak shaving facilities were located in the Northeast, while a quarter of them were located in the Midwest. Currently, the U.S. has among the highest number of peak shaving plants. However, less than 10% of them are available for any other use due to the current electricity demand. The commissioning of small-scale liquefaction plants can expand the peak shaving capacities in the region.
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The report "Cryogenic Tanks Market by Raw Material (Steel, Nickel Alloy), Cryogenic Liquid (Liquid Nitrogen, LNG), Application (Storage, Transportation), End-use Industry (Metal Processing, Energy Generation, Electronics), and Region - Global Forecast to 2024" The global cryogenic tanks market size is projected to grow from USD 6.2 billion in 2019 and expected to reach USD 8.1 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 5.5%.
Browse 121 market data Tables and 36 Figures spread through 147 Pages and in-depth TOC on "Cryogenic Tanks Market by Raw Material (Steel, Nickel Alloy), Cryogenic Liquid (Liquid Nitrogen, LNG), Application (Storage, Transportation), End-use Industry (Metal Processing, Energy Generation, Electronics), and Region - Global Forecast to 2024"
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The global industry for cryogenic tanks is driven primarily by the increasing demand for LNG. An increase in infrastructure spending, space applications for cryogenic technologies, and cryogenic energy storage systems represent promising growth opportunities for the market. Improving healthcare services in the developing economies is boosting the cryogenic tanks market.
The steel segment is estimated to lead the cryogenic tanks market, by raw material, during the forecast period.
Steel is primarily used in the manufacturing of cryogenic tanks. Most of the materials are ductile at room temperature and abruptly lose their ductility when a given threshold is exceeded. They then become brittle even at relatively low temperatures. The austenitic stainless steel is majorly used for working in the low-temperature range. Carbon and alloy grade steels used for low-temperature service are required to provide high strength, ductility, and toughness in vehicles, vessels, and structures that must be used at –49°F and lower. These factors are contributing to the growth in demand for steel for the manufacturing of cryogenic tanks.
Liquid Nitrogen is the fastest-growing cryogenic liquid segment of the cryogenic tanks market.
Liquid nitrogen is primarily used in metal processing, food & beverage, electronics, and healthcare industries. The steel manufacturing industry is one of the major consumers of nitrogen. Nitrogen is used in the food & beverage industry for food preservation and packaging applications. The use of liquid nitrogen in this industry enables cost savings during storage and transportation and improves food quality. Liquid nitrogen is used to cool normally soft or heat-sensitive materials, such as plastics, tires, and certain metals. The increasing demand for liquid nitrogen from metal processing, food, and medical industries is expected to drive the market in this segment.
Metal processing is expected to lead the end-use industry segment for cryogenic tanks market during the forecast period.
Metal-processing industry was the largest end-use industry for the cryogenic tanks industry. Cryogenic tanks are increasingly being used in the metal processing industry, especially steel the industry. Huge quantities of nitrogen and other industrial gases are used during the steel manufacturing process. Nitrogen is also known to be largest consumed gas in the industry. It is used as a high-pressure gas for laser cutting of steel and metal. The inert properties of nitrogen facilitates its use as a blanketing gas. Some gases, including hydrogen and oxygen, are also used in the metal processing industry. Cryogenic tanks are commonly used in the storage and transportation of these gases in manufacturing plants, which drives the market demand.
High economic growth rate and growing metal processing and energy generation industries in China, Australia, and India are projected to lead the cryogenic tanks market in APAC during the forecast period.
APAC is the fastest-growing market, in terms of both production and demand. Higher domestic demand, easy availability of raw materials, and low-cost labor make APAC the most preferred destination for the manufacturers of cryogenic tanks. The cryogenic tanks market in India, China, and Australia is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. The market is primarily driven by the demand from the energy & power sector. APAC is emerging as a leading consumer of cryogenic tanks, owing to the increasing demand from domestic as well as international markets.
The key players in cryogenic tanks market are Chart Industries (US), Cryofab (US), INOX India (India), Linde PLC (UK), Air Products (US), Cryolor (France), Air Water (Japan), Wessington Cryogenics (UK), FIBA Technologies (US), and ISISAN (Turkey). These players have established a strong foothold in the market by adopting strategies, such as expansion, new product launch, and merger & acquisition.
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September was the first month the United States recorded exporting more petroleum than it imported
In September 2019, the United States exported 89,000 barrels per day (b/d) more petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) than it imported, the first month this happened since monthly records began in 1973 (Figure 1).
Net petroleum trade is calculated as total imports of crude oil and petroleum products less total exports of crude oil and petroleum products. The United States currently imports more crude oil than it exports, but it exports more petroleum products than it imports (Figure 2). The balance of this petroleum trade activity has been changing during the past 10 years, from annual net petroleum imports of 9.6 million b/d in 2009 to annual net imports of 2.3 million b/d in 2018. Long-running changes in U.S. trading patterns for both crude oil and petroleum products have resulted in a steady decrease in overall U.S. net petroleum imports.
Increasing U.S. crude oil production, which rose from an average of 5.3 million b/d in 2009 to 12.1 million b/d in 2019 through September, has resulted in a decrease in U.S. crude oil imports from an average of 9.0 million b/d in 2009 to 7.0 million b/d through September 2019. The decrease in U.S. crude oil imports also corresponded with a decrease in the number of sources the United States imported crude oil from.
In December 2015, the United States lifted restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude oil. Since then, U.S. crude oil exports have been the largest contributor to U.S. petroleum export growth; U.S. crude oil exports have grown from 591,000 b/d in 2016 to 2.8 million b/d in 2019 through September. Despite increasing exports of crude oil, however, the United States remains a net importer of crude oil. The United States continues importing primarily heavy high-sulfur crude oils that most U.S. refineries are configured to process, and more than 60% of U.S. crude oil imports come from Canada and Mexico.
At the same time, U.S. refineries responded to increasing domestic and international demand for petroleum products (such as distillate fuel, motor gasoline, and jet fuel) by increasing throughput. Gross inputs into U.S. refineries rose from an annual average of 14.6 million b/d in 2009 to 17.0 million b/d through the third quarter 2019, and they have regularly set new monthly record highs.
The increase in refinery production of petroleum products has outpaced the increase in U.S. consumption, contributing to an increase in petroleum product exports. The United States has gone from net petroleum product imports of 698,000 b/d in 2009 to net petroleum product exports of 3.2 million b/d so far in 2019. In the first nine months of 2019, the United States exported 1.4 million b/d of distillate, 1.1 million b/d of propane, and 864,000 b/d of motor gasoline, the three largest petroleum product exports.
Although seasonal monthly import and export patterns may result in month-to-month back and forth changes between net imports and net exports for some products such as motor gasoline, the United States has been a net exporter of several products on an annual basis (Figure 3). The United States has been an annual net exporter of distillate and residual fuel since 2008, a net exporter of hydrocarbon gas liquids and jet fuel since 2011, and a net exporter of motor gasoline since 2016.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) had forecast that the United States would transition to net petroleum exports in September 2019. In the November STEO, EIA forecasts that U.S. net petroleum exports will continue to increase, averaging 751,000 b/d in 2020, the first time that the United States is expected to be a net petroleum exporter on an annual basis.
U.S. average regular gasoline price falls, diesel price increases
The U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell less than 1 cent from the previous week to remain at $2.58 per gallon on December 2, 12 cents higher than the same time last year. The West Coast price fell more than 6 cents to $3.41 per gallon, the Gulf Coast price fell more than 1 cent to $2.23 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price fell nearly 1 cent to $2.82 per gallon. The Midwest price increased by more than 2 cents to $2.42 per gallon, and East Coast price increased by nearly 2 cents to $2.48 per gallon.
The U.S. average diesel fuel price rose less than 1 cent, remaining at $3.07 per gallon on December 2, 14 cents lower than a year ago. The Midwest price rose by more than 1 cent to $2.98 per gallon, the East Coast price rose by nearly 1 cent to $3.06 per gallon, and the Gulf Coast price rose by less than 1 cent to remain at $2.78 per gallon. The West Coast price fell by nearly 2 cents to $3.70 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price fell by nearly 1 cent to $3.24 per gallon.
Propane/propylene inventories decline
U.S. propane/propylene stocks decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week to 91.8 million barrels as of November 29, 2019, 4.1 million barrels (4.6%) greater than the five-year (2014-18) average inventory levels for this same time of year. Midwest, East Coast, and Gulf Coast inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels, 0.7 million barrels, and 0.4 million barrels, respectively. Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories increased by 0.2 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 5.8% of total propane/propylene inventories.
Residential heating fuel prices increase
As of December 2, 2019, residential heating oil prices averaged nearly $3.01 per gallon, almost 2 cents per gallon above last week’s price but more than 19 cents per gallon below last year’s price at this time. Wholesale heating oil prices averaged almost $2.05 per gallon, less than 1 cent per gallon more than last week’s price and nearly 8 cents per gallon more than a year ago.
Residential propane prices averaged nearly $2.04 per gallon, almost 4 cents per gallon higher than last week’s price but more than 39 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. Wholesale propane prices averaged almost $0.91 per gallon, nearly 1 cent per gallon higher than last week’s price and more than 6 cents per gallon above last year’s price.