American Exporter

While there is so much focus on the drama in the OPEC cartel, the real historic news that went unnoticed was that the United States last week exported more crude oil and fuel than it imported for the first time on record. Reuters news reported that when adding in all imports and exports of crude and refined products, the U.S. exported a net 211,000 barrels per day for the week through Nov. 30 – the first time that has happened, according to U.S. Energy Department figures dating to 1973. That was on the back of a jump in crude exports to a weekly record of more than 3.2 million bpd. So now the US can join the community of exporting nations as opposed to consuming nations, at least this week. That was only one of the bullish factors that were largely ignored with the markets OPEC plus one meeting obsession.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) also brought sanity back to the oil inventory world by reporting that US oil supplies fell by 7.323 million barrels even after a one-million-barrel release from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and another big 1.729-million-barrel build in the Cushing Oklahoma Delivery point. The reason for the big drop is a game-changing record US exports to a world that despite talk to the contrary is hungry for crude oil.

That strong demand is one reason Russia is reluctant to cut production with OPEC as they feel that the market may balance on its own without a production cut. Russian oil companies do not want to go to all the trouble to cut production, which from a logistics viewpoint is difficult in winter, only to have to ramp up production in the future. Saudi Arabia on the other hand, are less sure as they are feeling the hurt of the price drop and can’t afford to be optimistic. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak flew back to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to see if he could get approval for a cut that would please the Saudis and close the deal at today’s meeting. The number that Novak reportedly came back with was 200,000 barrels a day which if OPEC agrees to its 1 million, would put the cut at a respectable 1.2 million barrels a day.

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