When the global oil trade industry gathered for its largest annual meeting in Asia last September, the US oil producing companies are well prepared.

The US giant Exxon Mobil and its European rival Royal Dutch / Shell have prepared for the oil buyers brochures detailing different grades of US crude oil and why they were appropriate to replace some of the long-standing Asian stocks from the United States. Middle East, Africa and Russia.

While the oil industry is meeting this month in London as part of Intellectual Property Week, US crude oil producers can have every reason to celebrate the success of their campaign, both in Europe and abroad. Asia.

Only a few years ago, before the fracking and oil shale revolution overturned the economic situation of oil production in the United States, the United States was by far the largest importer of oil in the world and prohibited legally export oil.

US crude deliveries in Europe have just broken a new record. January's imports were 630,000 barrels a day, still behind Russia and Iraq, but above other OPEC producers, including Nigeria and Libya.

The increase in US crude exports has been helped by the decline in supplies of Iranian and Venezuelan crude, which Washington has put under sanction, frightening buyers around the world.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, US supplies to Europe doubled to 430,000 b / d. This accounted for 6% of total imports or equal to the level of Iranian oil imports into Europe before the United States imposed new sanctions on Tehran.

"The US crude is a real headache, it puts a lot of pressure on the regional light ranks.In fact, the prices of all ranks are affected because there is a very important additional supply" said a European trader selling Russian oil.

The pressure will probably increase only in 2019, crude oil production in the United States is expected to average 12.06 million bpd, an increase of 1.18 million bpd compared to last year, according to the United States Government.

According to forecasts, the United States could produce up to 15 million bpd of crude oil and up to 20 million bpd of total petroleum liquids, which would give it total self-sufficiency as it would cover fully consuming 18 to 19 million bpd.

The increase in production in the United States has prompted OPEC and major non-OPEC producers such as Russia to reduce their production by 3 to 4% since 2017 in order to support prices. . The pact doubled prices to $ 60 a barrel, but at the expense of a loss of market share for US companies.

"Welcome to the free market," said a US executive of an international trading company. "Local producers must either lower their prices to be competitive, or find other markets."

Competition is particularly strong in northwestern Europe, where Britain and the Netherlands imported 6.5 and 5.1 million tonnes of US crude, respectively.

BP, Litasco, Equinor, Total and ExxonMobil have been among the main buyers in the Baltic Sea, replacing the North Sea barrels with American qualities, traders said.

"The WTI is the new dated Brent," said a reputed crude trader referring to US and European benchmarks.

BP is shipping US oil to its refinery in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, while Poland's PKN Orlen announced in January that it would cut Russian purchases by Kremlin giant Rosneft by 30 percent and replace it with US barrels. In Britain, major US oil buyers are Essar Oil and Exxon Mobil, the traders said.

In the Mediterranean, buyers of US barrels – Italy, Spain, France – tend to use them to replace the light CPC mixture of the Caspian, Russian Urals and Iranian oil, traders said.

The Greek company Hellenic Petroleum has added WTI to its list of preferred crude oil options alongside the Urals and CPC, as does the Turkish Tupras. In Italy, US oil arrives at the Kuwait Petroleum Milazzo refinery and at the Varo Energy plant in Switzerland.

WTI was by far the most popular American rank among European buyers in 2018, followed by Midland Eagle Ford, Bakken and Mars.

As the world adopts stricter regulations on marine fuels, which will increase the demand for light barrels, the demand for US oil – essentially light – will only grow.

"I expect American crude oil to become even more popular in Europe, and it seems that no matter what happens on the oil markets, the United States benefits," said a large businessman. .

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