March 10 (UPI) -- The growing influence of U.S. crude oil exports to Asia was a topic at a recent oil conference in London.
It had been 40 years since crude oil was exported from the United States to points outside North America. Export restrictions were repealed in 2015. Virtually no crude oil was sent to Asia in 2015, but between January and November 2016 the figure rose to 50,000 barrels per day, U.S. Energy Information Administration figures said. Exports to Singapore, China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea have already grown in 2017 as well.
Demand for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil is now about 14 percent of WTI's global volume of sales, and its crude oil futures are part of Asian investors' risk management tools. About 80 million barrels of WTI are currently traded, making it the most liquid major energy derivative traded during Asian working hours.
Increasing efficiency in U.S. shale oil production has made it competitively priced in comparison to West African and Asian sweet crude oil, and U.S. exports are redrawing the world's energy map, CME Group reported Friday.
Crude oil futures closed down on Thursday, with April contracts falling 1.00 to $49.28 per barrel, May contracts down 1.00 to $49.53, June contracts down 0.99 to $50.25 and July contracts down 0.98 to $50.59.