The shutdown or slowdown of many Gulf Coast refineries after Hurricane Harvey drove U.S. crude oil exports to record levels in September and October as inventories mounted and export facilities came back online, according to the U.S. Energy Administration.
In August and September, gross inputs to refineries in the Gulf Coast region fell 13 percent to 1.1 million barrels per day. Regional crude oil inventories increased by 6.9 million barrels during the same period.
As export facilities came back online in September, shipments reached a then-record high of 1.5 million barrels per day. In October, when refinery runs returned to pre-Harvey levels, exports set a new monthly record at 1.7 million barrels per day.
Asia accounted for much of the increase. Exports to that region averaged 312,000 barrels per day during the first eight months of 2017, but in September and October, they more than doubled to 636,000 barrels a day.
The administration noted that both exports and Gulf Coast refinery inputs remained relatively high throughout the remainder of the year, driving inventories down.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.