(EnergyAsia, March 14 2014, Friday) — US refined oil product exports surged 11% to reach an average 3.5 million b/d last year, said the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

It hit a record 4.3 million b/d last December, the first time that US exports of oil products have exceeded the four-million-b/d ceiling in a single month.

Thanks to the availability of low-cost domestic crude oil, US refiners sharply raised exports the last five years after selling an average one to 1.5 million b/d from 2000 to 2007.

Mid-distillate exports exceeded 1.1 million b/d in 2013 for a 110,000-b/d increase over the 2012 level, said the EIA. US refiners produced an average 4.7 million b/d of mid-distillate fuels last year, with December’s 5.1 million b/d output a record since EIA began collecting those data.

The strongest absolute growth in distillate exports last year was to Central and South America, already the largest destination for US-produced distillate fuel, said the EIA.

US exports to Central and South America increased 60,000 b/d to 550,000 b/d while sales to Western Europe rose by 50,000 b/d to average 400,000 b/d last year.

Exports of gasoline, jet fuel and pentanes plus, a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons that is similar to natural gasoline and extracted from natural gas in a gas processing plant, also increased in 2013.

Gasoline exports, which include finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, rose 45,000 b/d in 2013, averaging 550,000 b/d for the year.