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Argentina is back exporting oil, mainly to China

Staff writer ▼ | May 3, 2016
Argentine oil producers are shipping record volumes of crude this month, spurred by a new government subsidy that has prompted state-owned YPF to return to the export market for the first time in years.
Argentine oil
Energy in LatAm   The surge in shipments abroad
The surge in shipments abroad comes just a month after Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, introduced measures to help oil exporters as part of sweeping policy changes aimed at boosting investment and opening the country's economy after years of heavy controls on trade.

Exports are expected to reach a record 91,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in April, including two cargoes sold by YPF to China and barrels shipped by private producers, according to a source.

Argentina exported 29,000 bpd in March and 30,000 bpd in April last year, according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows data. After a two-year hiatus, YPF is in April joining other exporters of Escalante heavy crude, including Pan American Energy, ENAP Sipetrol and Tecpetrol.

In October the country exported 65,000 bpd, including large cargoes to China and India, according to data that comprises sales made from late 2014 to April 2016.

The main impetus for the flurry of sales is likely a $7.50 brown per barrel payment that the government gives exporters if international oil prices stay below $47.50 per barrel. The deals may also reveal that the nation's producers have excess crude to export because of lower input to domestic refineries.

The volumes are still tiny compared with those of major exporters such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, and only a small portion of the nation's 700,000 bpd of output in recent years. Argentina's growing exports could add to a global oversupply estimated at 1.5 million bpd, putting further pressure on prices.