NEWS  |  Flotilla of U.S. Crude Heads to Asia as OPEC Weighs Extending Cuts  |  Rigzone

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HOUSTON/NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) - Oil tankers carrying around 10 million barrels of U.S. crude are en route to Asia, according to shipping data and trade sources, as U.S. producers take advantage of favorable prices to ship to the region while OPEC ponders further supply cuts next week.

At least eight tankers are in transit, sources said and the shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed, with one of them carrying the first ever cargo of Southern Green Canyon crude purchased by Japanese refiner Cosmo Energy. Another contains the first Alaskan North Slope cargo to arrive in Asia in eight months.

OPEC members meet next week to discuss extending a global supply cut, but the possibility of U.S. supply eating into their market share will be a challenge. While member countries have largely restrained their supply, they have remained intensely focused on keeping market share with Asian refiners. But relatively cheap U.S. crude has buoyed exports to Asia.

Traders expect that May U.S. crude exports could reach around 1 million barrels per day, with a sizable portion of that going to Asia. Last week, U.S. crude exports touched 1.09 million bpd, the third highest on record, according to U.S. government data. If numbers remain elevated, they could surpass the record 1.2 million bpd seen in February.

"We expect that momentum to continue when (Dakota Access Pipeline) opens and as more Permian production hits Corpus Christi docks," said Sandy Fiel....

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