Following a year-end selloff of crude to trim taxes on US Gulf Coast inventories, crude imports at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port fell 3.235 million barrels month on month to 8.021 million barrels in December, according to US Customs Bureau and Platts Analytics data.
Imports of Middle Eastern crude fell 4.37 million barrels month on month — or nearly halved — to 4.961 million barrels, the data show. The decline in total Middle Eastern barrels imported to LOOP mainly came from a decrease in Iraqi barrels.
On a month-on-month basis, imports to Morgan City, Louisiana, from Iraq fell 3.255 million barrels to 3.51 million barrels. In December, Iraqi barrels made up only 44% of the barrels imported at LOOP, compared with about 60% in November.
So far in January, however, LOOP has only imported barrels of Iraqi Basrah Light crude, with 2.309 million barrels taken in so far.
Although imports from Latin America fell month on month, they rose marginally on a percentage basis to represent about 17.6% of total crude imports at LOOP.
Imports from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela fell by about 515,000 barrels month on month to 1.41 million barrels in December.
Venezuelan crude imports into LOOP dried up in December from a level of 925,706 barrels in November. The absence of Venezuelan exports to LOOP coincided with a drop in Venezuelan crude production in December to its lowest level in more than 15 years.
Imports of Mexican heavy sour crude to LOOP fell 23,000 barrels month on month to 477,000 barrels in December.
The ‘In the LOOP’ Americas crude oil wrap runs each Monday in Crude Oil Marketwire, North American Crude and Products Scan and on the Platts Global Alert. You can read the FAQ: USGC LOOP Sour crude here and find the full special report LOOP Sour Crude: A benchmark for the future here. Also be sure to download our LOOP app by searching for ‘Platts LOOP’ in your app store.
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