U.S. crude exports should jump this year, driven by robust demand from customers in Europe and Asia, analysts and traders said on Wednesday at an energy conference in Houston. Exports could reach 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, up about 45 percent over last year, on rising refining and petrochemical demand for U.S. light sweet crudes, according to consultancy Energy Aspects. “The second half of the year is when (oil) production growth overwhelms,” said Amrita Sen, co-founder and chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects. “Gulf Coast exports will be strong,” she said in remarks at the Argus Americas Crude Summit. Greater integration between refining and petrochemical operations is one driver of demand for the nation’s oil, she said. Another is specification changes in refined fuels, such as the International Maritime Organization’s sulfur reduction mandate for marine fuels, according to Sen. “We are going to […]