HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) exported a record 283,333 barrels per day of light sweet crude last month, according to trade sources, as prices weakened against global Brent.
LOOP, which exports mostly medium sour grades produced in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, last month exported more than twice the amount of light sweet from the prior month. Overall exports of U.S. crude hit a record 3.77 million barrels per day (bpd) one week in June, U.S. government data showed.
A decline in oil imports at the facility, stemming from record U.S. production, paved the way for exports from LOOP storage facilities, said Abudi Zein, chief executive of market research firm ClipperData.
Crude imports at the port dropped in June to about 56,667 bpd, from 174,194 bpd in May, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed. While nearly a dozen new oil-export ports have been proposed along the Gulf Coast, LOOP is the only U.S. oil terminal now capable of fully loading and unloading supertankers.
U.S. crude’s discount to Brent widened in late May to minus $10.99 per barrel, the most in about a year, bolstering demand for U.S. oil. The spread was $6.42 per barrel on Tuesday.
Six tankers in June together carried a record 8.5 million barrels of light sweet crude from LOOP toward destinations in Asia and Europe, according to data from ClipperData and Refinitiv Eikon.
“If there were a lot of imports coming in, they wouldn’t have the space to push out all that crude,” Zein said. “Higher exports mean the pipe is pumping more out of the (storage) caverns.”
LOOP spokesman Wade Tornyos declined to comment.
Among the tankers exporting light sweet crude from LOOP in June was New Prime, chartered by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which departed toward India, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and ClipperData.
Suezmax vessels Cap Felix and Amli Sky, last month departed LOOP for Greece and Italy, respectively, the data showed.
Gulf Coast refiners have had less demand for light sweet crude since January, when U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports reduced calls for blending the U.S. grade with heavy crude to get “the right quality to produce a mix of products,” Zein said.
Reporting by Collin Eaton; Editing by Alistair Bell