Crude exports from the US port of Corpus Christi have dominated Houston's exports in the past ten months on the back of increased connectivity to the Permian and Eagle Ford basins. The port of Corpus Christi emerged as a top exporter to China in early Q2 2020, with new terminals also plying the route for the first time. But a number of factors are combining to suggest that flow may have peaked in the near term, our data show.
US crude exports by top ports (b/d)
Corpus Christi to China flow emerges
Crude oil exports to China from Corpus Christi emerged on a sustained basis only in Q2 this year as economics shifted to favour the long-haul journey, amid elevated buying from China.
Exports from Corpus Christi to China averaged around 30,000 b/d in April before growing to over 400,000 b/d in May and 100,000 b/d in June.
Moda Midstream at the forefront
By terminal, Moda Midstream is the top source of crude oil exports from Corpus Christi, averaging 500,000 b/d between June 2019-June 2020 (see chart below).
Similar to the Port of Corpus Christi, flows from Moda Midstream’s terminal to China emerged only in May 2020.
A lack of observed July fixtures for the Corpus Christi to China route suggests that China-bound exports may have peaked for the time being as hefty volumes of crude purchased earlier in the year make their way through China's refining systems, strategic stockpiles and port congestion.
Corpus Christi crude exports from top terminals (b/d)