EghtesadOnline: South Korea overtook China as the No. 2 destination for US crude behind Canada in 2018, as shipments to South Korea soared to a record high of 558,000 barrels per day in December while shipments to China have started to return from zero, according to Energy Information Administration data released Friday.
S&P Global Platts prices show the incentive to ship US barrels to North Asia was strong in October and November. For example, WTI on a delivered-basis into North Asia held a 88 cent per barrel discount to ADNOC's Murban over October and a $2.10 per barrel discount to Russian ESPO. These spreads were still largely workable in November as well.
While WTI's discounts were largely eroded in December, spreads have again widened so far in 2019, suggesting exports to the region are likely to pick up.
The US sent an average 236,000 bpd of crude to South Korea and 228,000 bpd to China in 2018, according to Financial Tribune.
Canada remained the top customer on an annual basis for 2018, but South Korea took the top spot for December. The US sent an average of 378,000 bpd of crude to Canada in 2018, with December exports at 431,000 bpd.
December US crude exports to South Korea are up from 351,000 bpd in November and 50,000 bpd in December 2017.