US crude imports fall for seven consecutive months
Saudi crude comes virtually $10/b cheaper than US oil
Center East suppliers’ market share rises to 69%
South Korea’s crude imports from the US practically halved in November from a 12 months earlier, whereas shipments from Saudi Arabia continued to rise as native refiners discover their staple Center Japanese oil to be probably the most dependable and economical feedstock choice in occasions of market uncertainty.
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South Korean refiners imported 832,068 mt, or 6.1 million barrels, of US crude in November, down 49.3% from 12.03 million barrels they obtained in the identical month a 12 months earlier, preliminary customs information confirmed.
The cutback in US crude imports marked the seventh consecutive month-to-month lower. The November shipments from the US had been additionally down 33% from 9.1 million barrels in October.
Over January-November, US crude imports fell 20.2% 12 months on 12 months at 99.37 million barrels.
Quite the opposite, South Korea’s crude imports from its prime provider Saudi Arabia climbed 2.1% 12 months on 12 months to three.33 million mt, or 24.41 million barrels, in November, in contrast with 23.91 million barrels in the identical month final 12 months.
The November Saudi oil shipments marked the third consecutive month-to-month enhance, the customs information confirmed.
Cheaper than US oil in 2020
Medium and heavy bitter Center Japanese grades are cheaper than gentle candy US oil and the staple Saudi crude is probably the most most well-liked feedstock alternative for a lot of refineries in occasions of weak refining margins, a number of plant operation managers at South Korean refiners stated.
South Korean refiners paid a median outright value of $43.72/b for Saudi crude imported thus far this 12 months, sharply decrease than $53.27/b paid for the shipments from the US.
Quite the opposite, South Korea paid on common $65.17/b for crude shipments from the US in 2019, cheaper than a median of $66.87/b paid for Saudi crude cargoes obtained in the identical 12 months.
North American benchmark WTI used to commerce at a steep low cost to Brent and Dubai just a few years in the past, however such reductions have dissipated this 12 months, which have prompted South Korean refiners to aggressively reduce on gentle candy US crude purchases.
The vast majority of US crude that South Korean refiners buy consists of sunshine candy grades together with WTI and Eagle Ford, however these firms are reluctant to purchase excessive volumes of the sunshine and center distillate-rich refinery feedstock on account of dismal home demand for gasoline, jet gasoline and diesel.
The share of Center Japanese crudes in South Korea’s import basket within the first 10 months was 69%, increased than the 67.1% in 2019 and 68.4% in
2018, in response to S&P International Platts calculation primarily based on Korea Nationwide Oil Corp. information.
The share of Center Japanese crudes was greater than 82% in 2015 and earlier than.
In complete, South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest crude purchaser, imported 9.292 million mt, or 68.11 million barrels, of crude oil in November, down 26.8% from 93.1 million barrels a 12 months earlier, the customs information confirmed.
For the primary eleven months, the nation’s crude imports dipped 9% 12 months on 12 months to 894.39 million barrels, in contrast with 982.46 million barrels a 12 months in the past.
The autumn in crude imports comes with a pointy rise within the nation’s stockpiles of crude oil.
South Korea’s crude stockpiles jumped 20.7% 12 months on 12 months at 48.44 million barrels as of end-October, in contrast with 40.13 million a 12 months in the past, in response to state-run Korea Nationwide Oil Corp, or KNOC.
However the nation’s total stockpile of refined oil merchandise declined 6% from a 12 months earlier at 62.9 million barrels as of end-October.
South Korean refiners and condensate splitters processed 82.14 million barrels of crude in October, down 0.2% from 82.33 million barrels a 12 months in the past, the KNOC date confirmed.
Ultimate oil information for November can be launched later in December by KNOC.