(BLOOMBERG) The United Arab Emirates, a model Persian Gulf petro-state where endless billions from crude exports feed a giant sovereign wealth fund, isn’t the most obvious customer for Texan oil.
The U.S. exported about 700,000 barrels of light domestic crude in December to the U.A.E., the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. While Energy Information Administration data show it’s the fourth-largest OPEC producer’s first cargo of U.S. oil, Adnoc said in July it purchased condensate from the U.S. for September delivery. Although it exports more than two million barrels a day, the Middle Eastern country typically imports extra-light condensate to process in a unit known as a splitter.
With rising crude exports and already booming overseas sales of refined petroleum products such as gasoline, the U.S. net oil imports have plunged to below 3 million barrels a day, the lowest since data available starting 45 years ago, compared with more than 12 million barrels a day in 2006. The U.S. could become a net petroleum exporterby 2029, the EIA said this week.
U.A.E. crude production was 2.85 million barrels a day in January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Output has declined from 3.07 million at the end of 2016 as OPEC and allies cut production to reduce a global glut and prop up prices.
The cargo was shipped from Enterprise Products Partners LP’s Houston terminal on the tanker Seoul Spirit, which arrived Jan. 31 at the Port of Ruwais in Abu Dhabi, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
Until last year, the U.A.E. relied on Qatar for its condensate supply. But the two countries are embroiled in a political dispute, and the U.A.E. decided in June to ban all petroleum ships from Qatar.
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