Spain's Record High Crude Oil Imports from US

Spain's Record High Crude Oil Imports from US

Sofia Martinez
3 min read

Spain Emerges as Top Crude Oil Importer from US, Surpassing Brazil and Russia

Spain's crude oil imports from the US surged to a record high of 1.18 million tons in May, marking an 82% increase from the previous year. This substantial rise has positioned the US as the primary crude supplier to Spain, displacing both Brazil and Russia from their previous leadership in the market. This significant shift is part of a larger trend in Europe, where refiners are opting for American WTI Midland grade over Russian Urals crude, particularly after the 2022 Ukraine invasion, as the lighter WTI Midland is now the preferred choice.

However, there are indications that this trend may evolve in the coming months. June has witnessed a decrease in US crude shipments to Europe, with a notable redirection of more cargoes to Asia, driven by lower prices. Globally, seaborne oil flows experienced a substantial decline in June, with Saudi Arabia at the forefront, reducing exports by around half a million barrels per day to meet domestic power demands during the summer. This trend was also mirrored in other regions such as Iran, Iraq, West Africa, the US Gulf, and the North Sea, while countries like Brazil, Qatar, and Russia witnessed an increase in their Urals grade oil shipments.

Key Takeaways

  • Spain's crude oil imports from the US surged 82% to reach 1.18 million tons in May.
  • The US has emerged as Spain's top crude supplier, displacing Brazil and Russia from their previous positions.
  • European refiners are favoring American WTI Midland over Russian Urals, leveraging this transition post the Ukraine invasion.
  • The global seaborne oil flows saw a decline of 1.08 million barrels per day in June, with Saudi Arabia leading the reduction.
  • Anticipated decline in shipments from the US Gulf to Europe in June, with a redirection towards Asia is also on the horizon.


Spain's pivot towards the US for crude oil imports is emblematic of Europe's strategic shift away from Russian Urals following the Ukraine invasion, thereby influencing the dynamics of the global oil trade. This transition not only presents opportunities for US oil producers but also poses challenges to Brazil's market position as a key supplier to the European region. In the short term, European refiners may encounter supply adjustments due to the decreased US shipments to Asia, potentially leading to volatility in financial markets as oil prices respond to these shifts, consequently impacting investors and energy-dependent economies. In the long run, the global oil dynamics may stabilize as alternative suppliers like Brazil and Russia ramp up their exports to meet evolving market demands.

Did You Know?

  • WTI Midland grade: WTI Midland, an abbreviation for West Texas Intermediate, is a type of crude oil extracted from the Permian Basin in Texas, specifically from the Midland area. This grade of crude oil is notably characterized by its light and sweet properties, signifying low density and sulfur content. As a result, it can be refined more effortlessly into higher-value products such as gasoline and diesel. Amid the geopolitical landscape post-Ukraine invasion, European refiners have increasingly turned to WTI Midland as a substitute for Russian Urals crude, which is heavier and has a higher sulfur content.
  • Seaborne oil flows: Seaborne oil flows refer to the transportation of crude oil and petroleum products via maritime routes, predominantly through tankers. This method is crucial for the global oil trade and encompasses the movement of substantial quantities of oil between producing and consuming regions. The notable reduction in seaborne oil flows in June, particularly from Saudi Arabia, suggests a considerable downturn in the international shipment volume, which can be influenced by an array of factors such as geopolitical events, domestic demand, and market prices.
  • Russian Urals crude: Russian Urals crude denotes a blend of crude oil extracted from Western Siberia, named after the Ural Mountains. This type of crude oil is categorized as medium to heavy with a moderate sulfur content, which presents refining challenges in contrast to lighter crudes like WTI Midland. The preference for WTI Midland over Russian Urals by European refiners post-Ukraine invasion signifies a strategic transition towards lighter, sweeter crude oils to facilitate more efficient refining processes and alleviate the dependence on Russian oil supplies.

You May Also Like

This article is submitted by our user under the News Submission Rules and Guidelines. The cover photo is computer generated art for illustrative purposes only; not indicative of factual content. If you believe this article infringes upon copyright rights, please do not hesitate to report it by sending an email to us. Your vigilance and cooperation are invaluable in helping us maintain a respectful and legally compliant community.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get the latest in enterprise business and tech with exclusive peeks at our new offerings