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For the first time in over sixty years, the United States is a net exporter of oil-products:

The U.S. exported more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than it imported in 2011 for the first time since 1949, the Energy Department said today.

Shipments abroad of petroleum products exceeded imports by 439,000 barrels a day, the department said in the Petroleum Supply Monthly report. In 2010, daily net imports averaged 269,000 barrels. U.S. refiners exported record amounts of gasoline, heating oil and diesel to meet higher global fuel demand while U.S. fuel consumption sank. […]

Distillate shipments rose 30 percent from a year earlier to a record 854,000 barrels a day, and daily exports of finished gasoline and blending components jumped 57 percent to 526,000 barrels in 2011.

In December, the U.S. had an average net export of 1.25 million barrels per day

However, the U.S. refined oil boom could slow down as a St. Croix refinery owned by Hess is shuttered and fires broke out at BP's Cherry Point, Tesoro's Salt Lake, and North Atlantic Refining's Newfoundland refineries, causing production to halt for weeks or months due to maintenance.

Prices could continue to go up as speculators feast on the news of Sunoco shutting its Philadelphia refinery:

Prices of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel -- already at record highs for this time of year -- could spike higher if Sunoco Inc. goes ahead with plans to shut its 335,000-barrels-a-day Philadelphia refinery in July if no buyer is found, U.S. government forecasters warned in a report Monday.

The plant made up 24% of the refining capacity on the densely populated East Coast as of August, the Energy Information Administration said. Since September, ConocoPhillips shut its 185,000-barrels-a-day Trainer, Pa., refinery and Sunoco shuttered its 178,000-barrels-a-day Marcus Hook, Pa., refinery. Those refineries, plus the Sunoco Philadelphia plant, make up 50% of East Coast refining capacity.

An additional complicating factor is that if the plant were to be converted to a storage terminal it might not be able to accept ships from the Gulf Coast due to the Jones Act:
The 1920 Jones Act requires that all commercial shipping between U.S. ports must be performed by U.S. flag vessels constructed in the U.S., wholly owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Penalties are steep for non-compliance. EIA said just 56 tankers met the requirement at the end of 2010, less than 1% of the world tanker fleet in total number and on a tonnage basis. About 35 Jones Act tankers are in use at any given time, EIA said. The costs of using Jones Act ships seem to run two-to-three times foreign flag ship rates," the EIA said.

"In the absence of domestic tanker constraints, Northeast suppliers probably would find it more economic to purchase ULSD from the Gulf Coast than to bid it away from Europe," the EIA said. But because of low availability of Jones Act ships, ULSD buyers would bid the fuel away from European purchasers, paying market prices that are 5-15 cents a gallon higher, as well as transportation cost of that averaged 5 to 9 cents a gallon in 2011.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    What we are seeing today is not an aberration; the aberration is only that we are seeing it, and what we are seeing is still not most of it.

    by The Anomaly on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 04:28:34 PM PST

  •  Is it "Sell, Baby, Sell!" not "Drill, baby Drill" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Anomaly, Pluto, ZedMont

    or maybe "Refine, Baby, Refine!" that's really the Big Oil story we need to see our leadership address?  Exports at record levels while the narrative is all about the domestic need to produce more (with good buddy TransCanada's willing help) and drill more.

    When will commentators finally recognize the record export levels of refined oil products, and when will reporters start asking our presidential and Congressional candidates about this as we frothily debate, in near panic tones, the urgent need to develop more domestic oil sources, drilling in the ocean, and the big hairy need to get oil from shale and tar, as in Transcanada Pipeline XL project?

    And given that our refineries are our weakest link, it's hard to imagine the current tax code, incentives and subsidies isn't doing enough to induce any of the 'free market' loving oil companies into building one or two new high tech and more efficient refineries.  And currently, 3 maybe 4 of our 13 US refineries are all having problems at, what are the odds of that?  Congress wants to drill, drill, drill when the biggest kinks in the sucking hose to our gas tanks is actually the problems of efficiently refining and delivering our refined products within our borders, instead of being sold abroad.

    When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

    by antirove on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 04:57:00 PM PST

  •  The main reason why oil prices (5+ / 0-)

    are rising is the same reason why food and import prices are soaring as well. Paper currencies across the world are losing their purchasing power against real assets that cannot be increased by fiat.  Of course, the Pollyannas on Wall Street will tell you that oil is rising because of a rebounding economy. However, the facts are that gasoline demand is down 7% YOY, while oil inventories are at a six month high. If the global economy was indeed recovering why is the demand for gas at the pump falling? In reality, the global economy is very weak and the U.S. is very far removed from a sustainable recovery in Q1 of 2011, QEII sent oil prices back to $114 per barrel and gas back above $4 a gallon. Predictably, U.S. GDP once again plummeted, falling from 2.3% in Q4 2010, to 0.4% in the following quarter. Today, oil prices are back to $110 per barrel and gas prices are surging back to $4 per gallon. Expect a slowdown in the economy similar to what occurred every other time gas prices hovered around the $4 level. We received a taste of that slowdown today with the release of the Durable Goods report. Orders for U.S. durable goods fell in January by the most in three years and capital goods expenditures, less aircraft and defense fell 4.5%

  •  Globally? (0+ / 0-)

    Are you saying gasoline demand is down 7% globally, or just in the U.S.?  I haven’t seen any figures saying global demand has declined.  The economies of the U.S. and Europe may be relatively weak, but the developing world is still growing well.  As long as they keep doing so, ioverall demand for oil and gasoline is going to continue upwards.

    •  Demand is rising globally. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sky Net

      0.8 bbl per day rise in demand forecast for 2012.

      The drop in demand is in the U.S.

      What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy? He taught me to play this here guitar REAL good. Oh son, for that you traded your everlastin' soul? Well, I wuddn' usin' it.

      by ZedMont on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 08:46:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it is inflation (0+ / 0-)

      price is down in gold

      •  uh-uh (0+ / 0-)

        You said gasoline demand is down.  ZedMont's link says it's going up in 2012, and looks like it's been going up for months.

      •  Price of anything in gold is pretty meaningless. (0+ / 0-)

        Pricing one commodity in another commodity doesn't make much sense.

        •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

          it is the only currency that has never lost purchasing power

          •  Gold prices fluctuate wildly. They dropped (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sky Net

            2 times in 1982 and stayed flat for two decades.

            •  prices fluctuate (0+ / 0-)

              but its purchasing power NEVER changes

              •  The distinction between price and purchasing (0+ / 0-)

                power is not a meaningful one unless all prices change simultaneously. Does the price of e.g. bread in gold always remain constant? I somehow doubt it.

              •  oh, really? (0+ / 0-)

                The price of gold in current dollars is the same now as in the early 1980's, HOWEVER, since then the price of gold has been as low as 1/4 the current price, most recently in 2003.

                So what is being claimed is that  if you bought an ounce of gold in 1981 at $1800 per ounce (in 2010 dollars), you could have sold that ounce of gold in 2003 for $400 (in 2010 dollars). You supposedly could have taken that same $400 in 2003 and bought as much of any commodity as $1800 would have bought of that same commodity in 1981.

                Unfortunately, with regard to inflation, the value of the U.S. dollar only declined by about 50% from 1981 to 2003, so that means that if you would have kept the $1800 in cash in 1981, you would still have had about $900 in 2003 in real values, instead of $400, not counting interest on your savings.

                I would call that a DECLINE in purchasing power.

                But wait, if we count a measly 1% interest paid on keeping that $1800 in a savings account for 32 years, your return would be about $2500. Apply inflation and you would end up with $1250 vs $400 for your gold.

                Now that is an even greater DECLINE in purchasing power.

                You really ought to post your ideas on a Ron Paul website. They would be enthusiastically received.

                OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 08:24:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll just let this (0+ / 0-)

                  speak for itself...

                  •  Well, I just want to say... (0+ / 0-)

                    that I also believe every single thing I read on the internet. I also believe every single thing my crazy uncle says because he is sooooo entertaining. And I often go to kindergarten classes for financial advice because what they say can be interpreted in so many ways and they are so darn cute.

                    You have your source.

                    I have my sources.

                    Instead of directing me to a single website run by a guy who is a gold investor and thus has a vested interest in promoting sales of gold....

                    why don't you just tell me what is wrong about the comment I made above?

                    Or even take the reverse: if you bought an ounce of gold in 2003 for $400 and could now sell it for $1800, how does that jibe with your statement:

                    prices fluctuate

                    but its purchasing power NEVER changes

                    Are you seriously saying that $1800 dollars in 2012 buys no more than $400 in 2003? That would mean that inflation has risen by 450% in 9 years. That means that a car model which cost $20,000 in 2003 now sells for $90,000 - care to tell what model that is?

                    Maybe you could show me how inflation has risen by 450% in 9 years? Would it be too much trouble for you to refer me to any other website than your precious "" like maybe some website that doesn't have a stake in the gold market???

                    Dude, anybody can parrot crap from some source or another. Charles Vollum was born with a silver spoon in his mouth as part of the family that founded Tektronix. He refers to himself on his website as "Sir Charles" - tip no. 1: anybody who refers to himself as "Sir Charles" has got a serious self-image problem. Who "knighted" Sir Charles?

                    You claim to be "reality"-based.

                    is that actually

                    or is it RonPaul-reality-based?

                    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                    by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:28:57 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                      oil was $25 a barrel in 03 and has increased 400%+ since, I say that is pretty constant. When you try to equate things like cars you forget to take into account the savings created by productivity and technological gains to name a few. it is like comparing the first iPod which cost more than the current iPad. Can you see that gain in VALUE!

                      •  speculation (0+ / 0-)

                        have you ever heard of speculation?

                        Do you understand the concept?

                        Do you understand that individuals and corporations band together to manipulate the price of commodities to suit their own designs? Like gold. like oil.

                        As far as cars are concerned, you really believe that if I had bought a car with a defined set of features in 2003 for $20,000 that I would now have to pay $90,000 for the same car with the same features? Because if I bought an ounce of gold in 2003 it would have only cost $400, yet now it would cost me $1800. Is a car manufactured in 2011 450% better than the same car with the same features in 2003??

                        I will answer the iPod/iPad "value" question when you answer my original question.

                        Why do you refuse to explain the simple example I posted for you in the original comments?

                        Could it be that you can't answer it?

                        Could it be that you refuse to reason for yourself and thus must rely upon "experts" to explain "problems" in circular jargon that explains nothing?

                        Let me reiterate:

                        Given the examples I cited in previous messages regarding the price of gold from 1981 to 2003 and from 2003 to 2011 or any period you choose, using any other data source than the almighty (which uses circular reasoning to explain scams and speculation), explain to me how having $900 in 2003 is worse than having $400 in 2003 (buying gold in 1983 and selling gold in 2003) and how having that $400 in 2003 is the same as having $1800 in 2011 (buying gold in 2003 and selling gold in 2011).

                        How do you reconcile that with your statement about gold:

                        prices fluctuate

                        but its purchasing power NEVER changes

                        You might want to do a little reading on speculation first.... and maybe a little on gambling... they are pretty much the same thing.

                        Please, enlighten me instead of parroting out things that scam artists have put in your mouth. You can explain things in your own words, using your own examples and reasoning, right?

                        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

                        by hillbrook green on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 12:49:57 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Crude oil is fungible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net

    refined products are even more so. The U.S. is a net importer of petroleum and will be as long as petroleum is the biggest part of our transportation fuel.

    There is no getting off "foreign oil", there is only getting off oil.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 09:47:14 PM PST

  •  US imports about 6 mln barrels a day of (0+ / 0-)

    crude oil and exports about a million barrels of refined oil products. A barrel of crude oil is converted to about half a barrel of gasoline. So overall US is an importer of oil products. Refinery capacity may be an issue though as you describe. However, it seems to be mostly an issue on the East coast so it's unlikely that there will be much fuel exported from there.

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