July 17, 2017

WINNING: U.S. Oil Producers Find a Surprise New Market: China.

China, one of the world’s largest oil importers, bought nearly 100,000 barrels of oil a day from the U.S. in the first five months of 2017—10 times the average in 2016. Imports in April and May surged to more than 180,000 barrels a day on average, China customs data show.

The shift has been greeted with enthusiasm by American producers, who have been trying to pull the sector out of a three-year price slump that has sapped profits and jobs. Industry executives and local officials are now scrambling to retool ports in the Gulf of Mexico to accommodate the large vessels needed to ship vast quantities of crude around the globe.

While still far below the figure China pays its top suppliers—Russia, Saudi Arabia and Angola—the bill for U.S. oil could come in well above $1 billion this year, up from $150 million last year, according to customs data.

Looks like we really are on our way to becoming a top 10 oil exporter in the next couple of years.