US imports of Saudi crude remain strong in 2012

18 Oct 2012

(MENAFN) US imports of Saudi crude oil have dropped by less than 10 percent from a four-year high hit earlier this year, according to a Reuters analysis of US import data.

The fall was far less than expected given a six-month outage at a joint venture refinery in Texas and a devastating fire at a Chevron Corp. plant in California.

According to data from US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US crude imports from Saudi Arabia hit a four-year high of 1.425 million bpd during the January-July period, and have dipped only 130,000 bpd since then.

The robust supplies came at a time when US and European sanctions have cut Iranian crude shipments to the world oil market by almost two thirds.

Saudi Arabia has vowed throughout the year to make up for any lack of supplies and stabilize the global oil markets. It increased shipments to the US by 20 percent this year from last year’s levels.

The big increase was initially believed to be tied to a major new joint-venture refinery expansion and customer demand.

The US has imported an average of 1.39 million bpd during the year to September period, up from 1.165 million bpd a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations using preliminary weekly data and final monthly data from the EIA.

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