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US exports shrug off downturn

Flows out of the Gulf Coast—and their influence on global pricing—are set to rebound further in 2021

Falling US exports, alongside a sharp decline in oil production and a jump in crude storage inventories, were key elements in the extreme price volatility that characterised the second quarter of 2020—as lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic brought down oil demand and refinery utilisation rates globally. But arbitrage price relationships in the global oil market have adjusted to the ‘new normal’ market fundamentals, becoming less volatile and more stable in the second half of 2020. US crude oil inventories peaked in June 2020 and dropped sharply thereafter, while US crude oil exports recovered in the second half of the year to over 3mn bl/d. US oil production stabilised at 11mn bl



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